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Insurance Fraud Investigator: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an insurance fraud investigator. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is an Insurance Fraud Investigator?

Insurance fraud investigators examine suspicious insurance claims. When an individual submits a claim to an insurance company, it is always reviewed to make sure it is legitimate. In instances when the legitimacy of the claim is questioned, the insurance fraud investigator takes over the case. These professionals may deal with cases of arson, car and home accidents that were staged, and unnecessary medical treatment. The investigator may conduct interviews with involved parties and put the claimant under surveillance to see if they can catch them in a lie. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required High school diploma; bachelor's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Business administration, criminal justice
Key Responsibilities Investigate suspicious claims submitted by policyholders; interview witnesses and police officers; take photographs of accident scenes, property damage or bodily injury; research claimant's criminal history and prior insurance claims
Licensure Required in some states
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* -4% decline (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)
Average Salary (2018)* $67,540 (for all claims adjusters, examiners and investigators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Will I Have as an Insurance Fraud Investigator?

Insurance fraud investigators probe suspicious claims submitted to insurance companies by policyholders that the company suspects are fraudulent or the result of a crime. Examples of these types of claims include arson fires that destroy insured buildings, fake accidents, inflated property damage claims or bogus disability claims. These investigators usually work on behalf of property and casualty insurance firms.

As an insurance fraud investigator, you might keep a suspicious claimant under surveillance, take photographs, interview witnesses, police officers, firefighters, policyholders or medical workers. You might also scour computer databases for personal information and criminal histories, as well as examine property or accident scenes.

Do I Need a College Degree?

Usually, employers only require a high school diploma to work in the field. However, some employers may favor candidates with a college degree or relevant work experience. Many employers prefer hiring former police officers or private investigators.

The International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU), a professional association representing insurance investigators, recommends that aspiring insurance investigators obtain a college degree in business administration or criminal justice (www.iasiu.org). Courses recommended to prepare investigators for the field include investigations, corporate crime, interrogations, accounting, insurance and business law.

Continuing education for the field is offered through professional associations, schools and insurance firms. The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers continuing education training in classrooms and online (www.nicb.org).

Do I Need a License or Certification?

Each state has different licensing regulations for insurance investigators. Whether you require licensure or certification depends on the location in which you work. IASIU offers as certification the Certified Insurance Fraud Investigator (CIFI) credential that you can earn after passing an exam.

What Salary Might I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018 claims adjusters, examiners and investigators earned approximately $67,540 per year on average (www.bls.gov). Those working for insurance carriers earned an average annual salary of $67,210.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

For high school graduates looking to immediately join a career related to investigation, becoming a construction/building inspector. These individuals ensure that all construction projects adhere to local and national building codes, zoning regulations and contract specifications.

If you are particularly interested in cases involving fire and arson, you could become a fire inspector. These professionals inspect buildings to make sure they are built according to fire codes and don't contain any fire hazards. When fires do occur, they investigate the cause of the fire. Generally these professionals have already worked as firefighters or police officers and therefore have some sort of postsecondary training. Another related career is a job as a cost estimator. These professionals analyze prospective projects to try to predict how much they will cost and how much labor will be required to complete them. A bachelor's degree is generally required for this career.