Working in the Insurance Industry's Most Exciting Job: A Career as an Insurance Investigator

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Despite a reputation for particularly predictable work environments, the insurance industry does offer at least one job that is anything but predictable. Insurance investigators work for insurance companies by conducting research and in-depth investigations for insurance claims that may be fraudulent or criminal.

Many people might find the insurance industry to be rather commonplace, lacking any excitement and drama. Well, guess again.

Sure, about 44% of insurance industry workers’ jobs revolve around office and administrative support, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Career Guide to Industries, but the job of an insurance investigator involves looking deep into suspicious insurance claims which could be falsified workers’ disability claims or involve arson, staged accidents, or unnecessary medical treatments.

Read on to find out more about the appealing and sometimes dangerous job of an insurance investigator.

When Do Insurance Companies Call on Insurance Investigators?

Each insurance company has an investigative unit that adjusters and examiners can refer to if they suspect some type of fraud or crime in a claim. These insurance investigations can range from overstating damages from a car accident to complex, planned fraud rings that involve a variety of participants.

Insurance Investigator Jobs Require Persistent Research and Analytical Skills.

Like a hard-nosed reporter or attorney, insurance investigators must be good at tracking down evidence that will support their hunches about specific claims.

A typical day for an insurance investigator can vary — one day he or she might be busy conducting online research and making phone calls, and another he or she might be out and about spying on various claimants in their places of work.

An insurance investigator’s job begins by doing background checks on the person(s) involved with the possibly fraudulent claim. This includes claimants and witnesses because many times it takes more than just the claimants to orchestrate a false claim.

In these background checks insurance investigators are able to access:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Criminal records and past claims histories
Insurance Investigators Should Not Be Afraid of Danger.

Now, this is where it can get interesting. After the appropriate groundwork has been done, insurance investigators can build upon that foundation to piece together what really happened in a claim.

To further develop a case, an insurance investigator can visit claimants and witnesses to get statements and photographs and to observe and analyze facilities. This type of support work can involve secretly visiting places of work to check on claims made by workers or professional offices to verify accreditation. Insurance investigators also can secretly take photographs and record videos to take back to insurance companies as proof.

Depending on the kind of evidence an insurance investigator is seeking, he or she may need to work during or after normal business hours. Insurance investigators may be required to sneak around in the middle of the night to get certain evidence.

Insurance investigators can also find themselves face to face with claimants, which can bring on some potentially dangerous and alarming confrontations.

While building a case against a claim, an insurance investigator can also rely on the help of subject-matter experts who can later testify as expert witnesses in a court case.

What Type of Education and Experience Should Insurance Investigators Have?

Although there are no prerequisites for becoming an insurance investigator aside from a high school-level education, many insurance companies prefer those who have college educations or some kind of relevant additional training.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, most insurance companies prefer to hire law enforcement officers, private investigators, claims adjusters, or examiners as insurance investigators because they usually have strong interviewing and interrogation skills.

It is also projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that job competition for insurance investigators will increase in the next eight years because of the nature of the job’s work and its suggested qualifications.
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