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How To Become An Insurance Fraud Investigator: Career & Salary Information
Insurance is something we have all heard of. We have insurance on our household items, on our vehicles, and on all our valuable material items. Heck, we even have them on our lives so that those left behind can afford to bury us with dignity, and for them to survive when we have long gone.
But as with all things involving money, insurance fraud is something that exists too. That is why insurance fraud investigators exist. To become an insurance fraud investigator, you would need to finish school, earn a field-related degree, obtain your license and certification, and get experience.
Let us delve into the extremely specialized and extremely interesting career of insurance fraud investigators.
What Is An Insurance Fraud Investigator?
Before we look at what is an insurance fraud investigator, let us briefly take a look at what is fraud, and more specifically, insurance fraud.
At its most basic meaning, fraud is a criminal act of lying or using deception for financial gain. When combined with insurance, which is a multi-billion-dollar industry, fraudsters have the opportunity to achieve immense gain.
Insurance is basically the act of paying a certified body a certain amount of money on a monthly basis to financially compensate for loss, damage, or theft of property or life. Insurance fraud occurs when people falsify claims in order to gain access to the monthly premiums that they have paid towards insurance providers.
The occurrence of insurance fraud has become so prominent and so regular, that a whole field of law enforcement has been dedicated to this.
An insurance fraud investigator will, in most cases, work for an insurance company and will investigate the legitimacy of all claims that are submitted.
For example, if someone submits a claim for household items that have been taken from their home during a robbery, an insurance fraud investigator will work closely with law enforcement officials to assess the legitimacy of the claim.
They will assess the police reports of the scene, they will investigate the person who submitted the claim for previous questionable claims, and they may even conduct witness interviews and interviews with the victims.
What Does An Insurance Fraud Investigator Do?
Insurance fraud investigators closely analyze suspicious claims, and in some cases, they may even conduct audits on regular claims. Some claims that may fall under suspicion are that of arson, theft, workers compensation for injury on duty, and even life insurance.
They are able to closely assess the circumstances surrounding a claim and they usually play a very hands-on role rather than just developing an opinion from behind an office desk.
From collaborating with other law enforcement agents, to assessing detailed documentation, interviewing witnesses and alleged victims, and even monitoring the victims, they ensure that all possible grounds are covered.
If insurance fraud investigators catch even the faintest scent of foul play, they can begin compiling evidence and reports, and can even testify in court.
Steps To Become An Insurance Fraud Investigator
Step One: Earn A Degree
Whether it is in criminal justice, forensic accounting, law enforcement, or criminology, getting your bachelor's degree is a way of guaranteeing your success in obtaining a role as an insurance fraud investigator.
Step Two: Gain Hands On Experience
Gaining experience is important for any role, especially if you are hoping to move up in the ranks of that particular position. You can do some research on intern positions that are available which will propel you into your career.
Step Three: Get Certified
For the overarching field of fraud investigation, you would need to obtain certification. You can get certified from either the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners or the International Association of Special Investigations Units.
The certification stands as proof that you are able to conduct objective and thorough investigations while closely adhering to a code of ethics.
Step Four: Get Your Master's Or Doctorate Degree
While this is not a necessary or required step in the process, getting your master's degree or your doctorate degree is a powerful addition to this particular field of expertise, especially if you are hoping to pursue management roles.
Leadership opportunities will be readily available at your fingertips, and a combination of qualifications and experience will ensure your growth in the industry.
What Degree Do You Need To Have To Be An Insurance Fraud Investigator?
While it is not explicitly stated that you need a degree to pursue a career in insurance fraud investigation, having one will certainly make you a front runner in your candidacy.
A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, forensic accounting, criminology, or any other related field will certainly make your application stand out to prospective recruiters.
A background in law enforcement will also prove to be beneficial within this particular industry.
What Is The Average Salary For An Insurance Fraud Investigator?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, the average annual salary for insurance fraud investigators was $65,080.
What Makes A Good Insurance Fraud Investigator?
There are some innate skills that would naturally incline one to be well suited for the role of an insurance fraud investigator. First, maintaining an objective outlook when assessing any case is paramount for success in this role.
Additionally, acquiring the relevant legal knowledge, having the ability to extensively maintain confidentiality, and having exceptional research skills are sure to get you far in your career journey.
Also, as an insurance fraud investigator, you will be required to communicate with many different stakeholders, and you may also be required to testify in court. Therefore, superior communication skills are an absolute must.
Where Can An Insurance Fraud Investigator Work?
Insurance fraud investigators are usually called in by insurance companies to investigate certain claims. While they can be internally employed at the company, they may also operate as private contractors, or as state or federal agents.
What Is The Difference Between An Insurance Fraud Investigator And A Normal Investigator?
Insurance fraud investigation can be seen as falling under the umbrella term of fraud investigation. Fraud can take place in a number of ways, from investment fraud and Ponzi schemes to identity theft.
The branch of insurance fraud pertains specifically to instances relating to insurance claims. These investigators may look into numerous types of occurrences, including arson and theft.
What Is The Work Environment Of An Insurance Fraud Investigator?
While many investigators may find themselves sitting at a desk and compiling reports, this is only one aspect of the job. They will be required to do a lot of field work, investigating either accident scenes, robbery scenes, or damages of property.
Additionally, they may be required to carry out multiple witness interviews, and even appear in court to present the findings of their investigations.
What Hours Does An Insurance Fraud Investigator Work?
Generally, insurance fraud investigators will work the expected 40 hours per week. But in order to successfully schedule client appointments and witness interviews, they may need to carry out operations outside of regular working hours.
This may mean scheduling appointments after work or over weekends to ensure the availability of the clients.
How Long Does It Take To Become An Insurance Fraud Investigator?
Completing multiple qualifications and certifications may add up in terms of time. It is generally expected to take between eight and 12 years to become an industry worthy, qualified, and somewhat experienced insurance fraud investigator.
This time is broken up into obtaining your degree which will take up to four years, gaining experience through an internship which can take between one to three years, obtaining certification which can take under a year to obtain, and lastly pursuing an advance degree such as a master's degree which can take up to two years to complete.
In an attempt to further minimize insurance fraud, insurance companies have established certain 'no claim rewards' which, in the hopes of reducing fraudulent claims, may earn their clients cash back if they don't submit an insurance claim for a period of time.
However, the world remains a hostile place, and the love of money is quickly on the rise. Therefore, the role of insurance fraud investigators has never been in a greater demand than it is now.
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