What does an insurance investigator do?
Insurance investigators examine a variety of suspected fraud and criminal activities such as unnecessary medical treatments, staged accidents, falsified workers’ disability claims, and arson. They typically begin their investigations by searching databases to gain background information on the claims, clients, and witnesses. They obtain personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, criminal records, aliases, and previous claims information. They also interview clients and witnesses to record statements, examine facilities, and take pictures. Insurance investigators usually seek advice from legal counsel when examining claims.
What kind of training does an insurance investigator need?
Insurance investigators typically need at least a bachelor degree in insurance, criminal justice, or other related field. An associate degree may be sufficient for some positions, but many employers prefer applicants with significant experience in insurance and law enforcement. Many aspiring insurance investigators complete internships in insurance company fraud departments to gain practical experience in the field. They must also complete extensive background checks. Many states require insurance investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, but usually include minimum education and experience and passing a licensing examination. Many insurance investigators also gain certification from the International Association of Special Investigation to remain competitive in the field. They must regularly complete continuing education courses to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast on the current laws and regulations that govern claims.
What are the prospects for a career as an insurance investigator?
Employment of insurance investigators is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and increase in insurance policies and the increase in insurance fraud cases will drive job growth.
As the number and severity of fraudulent insurance claims continue to rise, the need for skilled investigators is increasing.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for insurance investigators with extensive experience and advanced education. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace insurance investigators that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do insurance investigators make?
As of November 2009, the average annual salary for insurance investigators is $49,000; average annual insurance investigators salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as an insurance investigator is a great choice for people interested in examining insurance claims that are suspected of fraudulent activity. Insurance investigators must have a solid understanding of insurance policies and the legal system. Honesty, detail orientation, good decision-making, critical thinking, and organization are desirable characteristics. Insurance investigators must also be assertive and persistent and comfortable with confrontation. They must have excellent communication and be able to effectively interview and interrogate individuals.