Colorado: Bill would limit comp insurers' ability to use video surveillance
Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, crafted H.B. 1012 in response to complaints from injured workers about Pinnacol Assurance, the state-chartered but independently run and funded workers' compensation insurance firm, during a series of legislative hearings last fall that examined the insurer's operational and management practices. Pace said several individuals claimed that Pinnacol abused its ability to use surveillance and inferred that the insurer used it as a tool to intimidate claimants in an effort to secure settlements.
The original intent of the bill was to restrict workers' comp insurers' use of video surveillance to only cases where the insurerhasa reasonable basis to suspect fraud. It also would have imposed a significant fine on insurers that violated the rule. However, the legislation was amended after lawmakers raised concerns that it would seriously hinder insurers' efforts to prevent fraud.
The amended version prohibits evidence from being introduced at workers' comp administrative hearings if it is deemed that the surveillance was intrusive, intimidating or harassing. In addition, the evidence would not be permitted if the administrative law judge finds that the investigator, if questioned, misrepresented himself to the claimant and did not disclose on whose behalf he was conducting the surveillance. The legislation would also require insurers to present the surveillance videos to the claimant's treating physician for review.
The bill heads to the state Senate for review.
Read more at the WORKERSCOMP ForumTM homepage.
March 25, 2010
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