My wife Jen is a math teacher. She is also an avid runner.

On weekdays during the school year, she wakes up at 4:15 a.m. (As do I, thanks to our freakishly loud alarm clock. Then it takes me an hour to go back to sleep—on a good day. But that’s another story.) So my wife is up and the sun has yet to rise. Jen grabs a quick breakfast, heads to the gym, jogs five or six miles on the treadmill, drives home, inadvertently wakes me up as she takes her shower, and then dresses and leaves for work. Jen does sleep in before her “long” run on Saturday, waiting until 6:00 a.m. before our clock’s WOOP, WOOP, WOOP jolts us into consciousness.  

(Again, it takes me an hour to fall back asleep. Again, that’s another story.)

On Sundays, my wife and I walk our dogs before she hits the trail. She then comes home, showers, and goes grocery shopping.

That’s her schedule. Week in. Week out. That’s what Jen does.

I mention all this not so you’ll pity my sleep deprivation—although a kind word would be nice—but to alert you.

My wife is stickler for schedules. And she’s not alone. I belong to a gym. I train at the same time on the same days. Every week I see the same faces. So does Jen. She sees them from the treadmill. She sees them at the grocery store.

One or two of those faces may belong to your claimants.

As a communications associate at Ethos Risk Services, I review about 20 reports every day. Some are advanced budgets, meaning we’ve previously conducted surveillance or investigative work on the same claimant.

Oftentimes, I’ll recognize a few claimant names. And with active claimants, I’ll notice a pattern. If we documented a claimant at Publix on a Monday in May, it’s likely we’ve documented that same claimant at that same Publix on a Monday in June.  If we found a claimant mowing his lawn on a Sunday in July, we’ll again find him mowing his lawn on a Sunday in August.

People are truly creatures of habit, and adjusters and investigators can use these habits to their advantage.

Obviously, no surveillance strategy is foolproof. But if you’re looking to assign additional work for a longstanding claimant, take a moment to review the days on which your vendor has obtained documentation. Or, if your vendor is Ethos, give your account rep or operations manager a call.

They’ll be glad to assist you.

I’d help as well, but I might be busy shopping for a new clock.