Insurance claims investigators are called in when there is suspicion about an insurance claim. Claims in which the company suspects fraudulent or criminal activity can span such acts as false workman's compensation claims, arson, false accident reports or inflated medical bills.
Investigators generally begin with a thorough background check on the claimant and any other individuals involved in the claim. This work is usually with a computer, going through databases and looking for aliases, former criminal activity and especially any former attempts at fraud. They then go through a round of interviews with the parties involved. Occasionally there may be surveillance work involved, for example with a questionable disability claim.
There are no formal educational requirements for the claims investigator position. A background in investigation is valuable, and many people with law enforcement experience turn to insurance investigation as a second career. Over half of all insurance adjusters, appraisers, investigators and examiners have an associate's or bachelor's degree. An additional seventeen percent have some college time to their credit, but no degree.
There were about 319,000 people working as adjusters, examiners, investigators and appraisers in the insurance industry in 2006.
The job growth for all of these professions is expected to be about the same as the average projected job growth overall for the next several years. Applicants for investigator positions with background in law enforcement or investigation will be in a strong position for what will be a competitive employment niche.
10th Percentile $34,140
Median Salary $55,760
20th Percentile $84,260
Source: U.S. Department of Labor