How to become an insurance investigator in 6 steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An insurance investigator assesses insurance claims to check their validity. There are various ways of becoming an insurance investigator, all of which can lead to an interesting and rewarding career for those with an interest in finance and insurance. Learning about what an insurance investigator does and the steps involved to become one can help you determine whether this career aligns with your interests. In this article, we discuss what an insurance investigator is, outline how to become an insurance investigator and look at the requirements for working in this role.

What is an insurance investigator?

An insurance investigator is a professional who assesses an insurance claim to determine whether it's fraudulent. They research and gather details from insurance adjusters, law enforcement officials, claimants and witnesses. When doing this, they seek to gain an enhanced understanding of the claim so they can determine its validity. Typically, these individuals work for insurance firms, claims management firms, insurance brokers or loss adjusting companies. These professionals may also focus on a specific type of insurance claim, such as property, burglary and incidents involving vehicles.

Related: List of 14 insurance careers plus salary information

How to become an insurance investigator

Below, you can find out how to become an insurance investigator in six steps:

1. Get a university education

One way of becoming an insurance investigator involves getting a university education. Typically, employers favour candidates with relevant degrees, such as maths, business, accountancy, finance, law and economics, although this isn't essential. The exact entry requirements can vary, depending on the institution, but most of these courses require two or three good A-level grades to be eligible. Due to the various requirements, it's advisable to check with the institution before applying.

To improve your applications for graduate insurance investigator roles, consider gaining work experience during your university studies, such as by completing an internship or securing an industry placement. Typically, you can organise these for the holiday periods so you can still focus on your studies. After graduating, you can apply for graduate training schemes that specifically involve working on claims with loss-adjusting companies and large insurance firms. Additionally, you can consider pursuing more generalised trainee schemes that include working on claims. Typically, employers seek candidates with a minimum of a 2.1 degree to gain access to these schemes.

Related: A beginner's guide to earning your undergraduate degree

2. Attend college courses

Another way of becoming an insurance investigator is by completing an insurance-related college course. These can give you a basic understanding of insurance topics so you know what to expect when working in this industry. Alongside this, you can also consider pursuing a course that covers topics that relate to providing financial services. These college courses can allow you to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in insurance. To apply for these courses, you typically require several GCSE passes, with grades between 9 and 4 (A* to C), including English and maths.

3. Construct your CV and cover letter

After acquiring your qualifications, the next step involves constructing an effective CV and cover letter. In your CV, ensure that you include your contact information, a professional summary and details that outline your work experience, educational background and skills. When writing your cover letter, make sure that you include your reasons for applying and why you think you're an ideal candidate. To tailor these documents, review the job description thoroughly and include the keywords and phrases listed in the job description in your CV and cover letter.

4. Undertake an apprenticeship

Instead of attending university, you can also undertake an insurance apprenticeship to work in this field. These usually take approximately two years to complete. Insurance apprenticeships can be a great way of developing your skills while earning a wage. This helps you learn from experienced insurance professionals in a workplace setting while also pursuing theoretical studies.

To undertake an apprenticeship, you usually require four or five GCSEs with grades between 9 and 4 (A* to C). If you wish to pursue a higher or degree apprenticeship, it's also necessary to obtain good A-level grades.

Read more: What are apprenticeship benefits? (Plus eligibility)

5. Pursue entry-level roles

You can also become an insurance investigator by joining an insurance firm, claims management firm or insurance broker and working in an entry-level role before progressing to an insurance investigator role. For instance, you can consider working in an administrative role for one of these organisations. To pursue these roles, you usually require good GCSE grades, between 9 and 4 (A* to C), including English and maths.

Related: How to become an insurance loss adjuster (plus types)

6. Become a member of a professional body

Effective insurance investigators stay up-to-date with industry developments and legislation. Due to this, it can be beneficial to become a member of a relevant chartered body, which can assist with this. For instance, you can join the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) or the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA). These organisations can offer you a range of insurance-related qualifications, such as the CII's Advanced Diploma in Insurance, which can allow you to demonstrate your skills in this field.

In addition to courses, joining a professional body can also allow you to network with other industry professionals. This can be useful when applying for insurance investigator jobs as experienced insurance professionals can provide advice on making more effective applications. Moreover, they can potentially recommend you for roles, which can allow you to progress in the hiring process more quickly.

Related: What does an insurance underwriter do? (With skills)

What does an insurance investigator do?

Insurance investigators assess claims that look suspicious to determine whether they're valid. They look at claims that potentially involve criminal activity, like arson, alongside claims that may involve fake accidents and unessential medical treatments. They begin this process by collating and analysing relevant documents. Then, they speak with the witnesses and victim to acquire a statement. When assessing whether a reported injury is real, they may conduct social media and in-person surveillance to see if their actions suggest that the injury isn't legitimate. Moreover, they might visit where the incident occurred to collect details and assess damaged goods.

Furthermore, they may consult with the police and other experts to discuss their findings. Additionally, they might review the claimant's credit history and criminal background. After completing their investigation, they then submit a report to the insurance firm's legal team. Occasionally, an insurance investigator may attend court to testify as an expert witness.

Related: What is the average salary of a private investigator?

Skills for insurance investigators to develop

Effective insurance investigators tend to have the following traits:

  • communication and listening skills

  • customer service

  • ability to work while under pressure

  • analytical skills and ability to make fair assessments

  • interpersonal skills

  • excellent attention to detail

  • decision-making and critical thinking

  • negotiation

  • inquisitive mindset

  • numerical skills

  • organisation and time management

  • adaptability and ability to use initiative

  • excellent knowledge of insurance law

Related: How to become an insurance broker in 7 steps

What are an insurance investigator's career prospects?

Insurance investigators can ultimately progress to a management role, which is either in the claims department or elsewhere in an insurance company. If an insurance investigator works for a large organisation, they can advance to a team leader role and then progress to more senior positions, such as a claims manager or claims director. As insurance investigators progress in their careers, they can start to develop claims portfolios. Using this, they can then start working as a claims negotiator, which allows them to take on more responsibilities and work on more complex cases.

These professionals negotiate with clients, insurers and solicitors before approving any claims. Also, claims negotiators may have the opportunity to participate in project work, like training or quality control. Insurance investigators can also transition into risk management or loss-adjusting roles. Moreover, they can consider working in a more specialist team and acquiring specialised qualifications, as this can help them to work in other areas of insurance, like public or employer liability. For insurance investigators to acquire more experience and responsibility, it's often necessary for them to move to larger organisations that focus on specific insurance areas.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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