Insurance fraud costs individuals and businesses billions of dollars every year. Many companies assign field and special investigative unit (SIU) insurance investigators to conduct a formal inquiry when fraudulent insurance claims or criminal activity is suspected. The attributes required for success in this field – such as interviewing skills, research and analysis – can be developed through a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.
Insurance Investigator Job Duties
An insurance investigator’s responsibilities vary according to the severity and nature of the suspected fraud or criminal activity. However, typical job duties may include:
- Using databases or conducting surveillance to obtain background and personal information on claimants
- Interviewing claimants and witnesses
- Obtaining oral and written statements
- Taking photographs for evidence
- Safeguarding documents
- Verifying public and private records
- Inspecting buildings, vehicles and personal property
- Gathering and analyzing facts and developing evidence
- Writing comprehensive reports
- Making recommendations regarding the disposition of a case
- Coordinating with outside experts, including forensics professionals
The work environment of insurance investigators can vary greatly. Some days may be spent traveling, while others are spent in an office setting. Insurance investigators sometimes work irregular hours when conducting surveillance or attempting to contact claimants and witnesses. They may work as independent contractors or directly for health and life insurance companies, government agencies and other employers.
Potential Salary for Insurance Investigators
The average annual wage for insurance claims adjusters, examiners and investigators was $62,340 as of May 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for the top 10% of earners exceeded $90,570.
Potential salary ranges differ based on industry type, employer size, regional market conditions, and a candidate’s employment history and educational qualifications, among other factors.
Education and Training
Entry requirements to the insurance investigator field can vary, although many employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree and/or related experience. Some employers may favor applicants with specialized knowledge, such as law enforcement investigative methods and procedures.
A future career as an insurance investigator can begin with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Coursework typically includes criminal investigation, research methods in criminal justice, criminal justice ethics and criminology. Graduates of such programs should be able to:
- Use criminal justice techniques to perform investigations
- Analyze crime through tested methods and technologies
- Demonstrate best practices and recognize future trends in criminal investigation
- Apply legal concepts including due process, criminal liability, and search and seizure
Embarking on the Path to an Insurance Investigator Career
Are you interested in the field of criminal justice? Do you enjoy getting to the bottom of a mystery? If so, you could be suited to a career as an insurance investigator. These professionals should be quick thinkers who are organized and self-motivated, with excellent communication and decision-making skills. Individuals with these attributes can bolster their career prospects by attaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.