Offshore work usually involves working on oil rigs that drill below the sea floor to explore and extract mineral resources. Offshore worker roles in the oil and gas industry are varied but can be divided into four general categories. These categories are construction, exploration, operations, and management.
Offshore workers have a demanding and often dangerous job. Typical duties include drilling, surveying, diving, and performing health and safety checks. They work in harsh environments, and offshore accidents do happen. That’s why short term and long term disability for offshore workers is so important.
Disability income provides financial support to workers who are unable to work due to a disability. However, the challenges offshore workers face in long term disability claims can make it difficult to receive benefits.
Duties and Responsibilities
Offshore workers have a range of responsibilities that varies depending on the workers specific role:
- Drilling Engineers are responsible for exploring and extracting oil from wells. They are also responsible for maintaining the drill and other tools that are used in the extraction process.
- Drillers oversee the assembly of drilling tools, monitor the drilling process, and ensure health and safety procedures are being followed.
- Derrickmen work on a platform attached to the derrick, which is a mast that supports the drilling equipment. They are responsible for aligning the drill pipe and connecting it to other components. Derrickmen also operates and maintains drilling motors and monitors pumping pressure.
- Ballast Control Operators maintain the oil rig’s stability. As a floating structure, an oil rig uses a ballast tank to provide stability in harsh currents. Operators are responsible for maintaining the rig’s position and stability.
- Offshore Installation Managers (OIMs) manage all offshore activities on an oil or gas rig, including maintenance, project work and training. They are responsible for ensuring that workers follow all processes and procedures.
Other offshore oil and gas jobs include:
- Well Services Supervisor
- Automation Systems Specialist
- Offshore Piping Designer
- Production Technician
- Pump Operator
- Helicopter Pilot
- Cooking Staff
Challenges Offshore Workers Face Obtaining Disability Coverage
One of the main challenges is that offshore work is considered a high-risk occupation. The insurance carrier expects you to suffer an offshore injury at some point. This means that insurance companies may view offshore workers as more likely to get injured or become disabled. As a result, insurance companies may charge higher premiums or impose more strict requirements to qualify.
Challenges Offshore Workers Face When Filing a Disability Claim
Offshore workers also face challenges when it comes to filing a disability claim. These are high value claims, so it may be harder to get approved for disability payments.
Insurance companies may require more detailed medical evaluations or ask for more documentation before approving a claim. They may also push a claimant to return to work prematurely to avoid paying benefits.
Offshore employees may also face challenges when it comes to providing medical evidence and communicating with the insurance company. Insurance carriers are infamous for being difficult to communicate with.
Tips for a Successful Claim
Tip #1 Obtain Strong Medical Evidence
Your medical records are the foundation of your disability claim. Make sure your doctors notes are detailed and include your pain level and any other symptoms. If possible, obtain objective medical evidence like MRIs, x-rays, etc.
Tip #2 Do Not Rush Back To Work
Do not try to return to work too fast, even if your insurance company pushes you to return to work. Offshore workers must resist the urge to go back to the rig before they are ready. Pushing oneself too far too soon can actually make matters worse.
Tip #3 Communicate in Writing
We recommend that all communication be in writing to avoid any confusion or misconception. Keep copies of your correspondence and any medical evidence submitted to support your claim.
Tip #4 Anticipate Surveillance
An insurance carrier is more likely to order surveillance for a high value claim like that of an offshore employee. It is completely legal for an insurance company to order video or social media surveillance. Do not rush back into exercise or any other strenuous activities. We suggest staying off social media altogether.
Tip #5 Do Not Leave Out Cognitive Problems
You could suffer from cognitive impairments even if your disability claim was initially filed in response to a physical injury. For example, the medications used to treat severe pain often cause cognitive issues. Cognitive impairments can be supported by a psychological evaluation.
Representation by an Experienced Long Term Disability Attorney
In conclusion, offshore workers face unique challenges when it comes to applying for long term disability insurance coverage. Insurance companies view offshore work as high-risk, which can make it more difficult for workers to qualify for insurance. Offshore workers may face challenges when it comes to filing a disability claim, providing medical evidence, and communicating with insurance companies.
Despite these challenges, it’s important for offshore workers to consider long term disability insurance plans. Long term disability benefits will help to protect their financial future in case of a disability. If your claim has been wrongfully denied or terminated, Ortiz Law Firm can help you fight back against the insurance carrier. Call (888) 321-8131 to schedule your free case evaluation today.