I always recommend that anyone who speaks to an adjuster, disability claim handler, or investigator about their Long Term Disability or Short Term Disability claim should have the calls recorded. The general rule is that you can record a phone conversation for personal use. However, if you want to record your conversation with the adjuster handling your disability insurance claim, you should always ask first. You may need to use that recording for something else in the future.
Let me be clear: NEVER record a call without the other person’s permission. You do not know the laws in their state, and you may be committing a crime if you record a call without their permission.
I recommend that you follow these steps if you want to record your conversations with the disability adjuster/specialist about your Disability benefit claim:
- Ask the adjuster if they record conversations.
- If the adjuster says tells you that the disability insurance company does not record phone conversations, then ask the adjuster if you may record the call.
- If the adjuster tells you that they do record conversations, ask if you may have a copy. If they say yes, ask them when you will receive that. If they say no, then ask permission to record the call yourself.
- If the adjuster gives you permission to record the call, then start your recorder. Then, be sure that the first words out of your mouth after turning on the recording device cover the following: the date and time, your name, the adjuster’s name, and ask the adjuster to confirm on the recording that they have given you permission to record the conversation. If they won’t confirm that, end the recording….and end the call.
- If the adjuster refuses to give you a copy of their recording and refuses to allow you to record the call, then advise the adjuster that they can communicate with you in writing – offer your email address and your postal address. Then end the call. You should immediately write a letter to the adjuster confirming that you will not speak with them unless the calls are recorded (and if they do it, you immediately get a copy of the recording), and because the adjuster refused that they may feel free to communicate with you in writing, but not on the phone (i.e., if they have questions, they can put them in writing and you can respond in writing).
- Any time you speak to an adjuster on the phone, you should always follow up with call with a detailed letter restating and summarizing everything they said to you and you said to them.
NOTE: If you read this blog regularly, you know that you should send any letter by certified mail, return receipt or some other form of delivery that allows you to prove receipt (FedEx, UPS, etc.). This does not mean fax or email alone. You can fax or send an email, but you then need to send it via some delivery service which gives you a confirmation that your letter or package was received.
Talking with disability claim adjusters can be tricky. You may think they are writing down everything you say, but even if they are good people, they may not catch everything. If they are not good people, you know they will not write down everything you say that could help you. My advice: Get a recording or do not speak to them.
John V. Tucker is a Disability Attorney in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. He handles ERISA Disability benefit claims and Individual Disability Insurance claims all over the U.S.A. For a free consultation, call John at (866) 282-5260.
- 5 Tips for Handling the ERISA Disability Field Interview (erisadisabilitylawyer.com)