Sub-Rosa is a term often used in the Workers’ Compensation community, outside of that most people do not understand the term or what it means. Sub-Rosa is a Latin phrase meaning “under the rose.”
The rose, a beautiful flower used to express love, is also the symbol of secrecy. In ancient Rome, roses were hung from the ceiling of the great council chamber to pledge the assembly to secrecy. We also see the rose in early Christian symbolism. The image of a rose was often carved on confessionals, indicating that the act of confession between the priest and confessed would remain a secret.
Today the term Sub-Rosa Investigation is used to describe the act of conducting surveillance on a person. Sub-rosa investigation is one of the most powerful tools a claims professional has to document evidence. What’s more damaging than someone caught on video and doing strenuous yard work, when hours earlier they were barely able to hobble into a doctor’s office? Video that catches a subject in unguarded moments will document the claimant’s true physical limitations and can be a powerful confirmation of fraud.
It is the claims professional’s responsibility, after much evaluation, to initiate the sub-rosa investigation. It is important to use a Sub-Rosa Investigator that has extensive experience in this specialty, not a general purpose private investigator, they may not have much knowledge in this specialty. Unfortunately, some adjusters are hesitant to request a surveillance if they’ve had bad past experiences with paying big bucks for surveillance time, with no video evidence to show for it. But if there’s strong suspicion then it’s worth committing the resources to establish a defense.
A Sub-Rosa Investigator will know what is possible within the law. Keep in mind that a Sub-Rosa Investigation involves many complicated issues. Unless you work with an experienced, well-trained, professional, you could end up with unusable video and a blown opportunity.
Documenting suspicion of fraud.
Only employ Sub-Rosa when you have a reasonable suspicion of fraud. Once an Insurance Company or a TPA (Third Party Administrator) has identified and documented a possible fraud, it is the job of a Private Investigator that specializes in Sub-Rosa Investigations to obtain video evidence that will be used by the insurance company, the lawyers and doctors to judge the legitimacy of the claim. It may ultimately be used to reduce the settlement of the claim or used in court to deny the claim.