The job of a claims investigator is to investigate claims to insurance companies made by customers and policy holders of the given company. This involves carrying out detailed assessments into the liability of parties involved, assessing the extent to which the policy holder is liable to claim and negotiating compensation payments. The job also entails arranging services for policy holders after an accident or incident, for example hiring a courtesy car whilst the owner’s is being repaired. In order to thoroughly investigate a claim, several tasks will need to be completed. A claims investigator will contact relevant tradesmen and professionals including police, medical staff, loss adjusters and solicitors to make an informed decision upon liability and the extent of any claims.
The investigator will also give advice to policy holders on making claims and the processes involved.The job will involve also visiting the scene of accidents or incidents and investigating the circumstances in which they took place.Office based tasks involve collecting data and compiling reports and assessing a variety of factual information. The investigator will complete relevant paperwork and forms in order to do this and support whatever decision they make regarding any given claim. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a claims investigator will be the person to negotiate settlements between the parties and their legal representatives involved in a claim.
The typical working hours for a claims investigator will be weekdays 9 until 5, with occasional overtime and the possibility of unsociable hours in order to pursue certain lines of investigation, for example, interviewing police on a night shift. Travel is common, mainly between an office and policy holder’s homes or scenes of accidents or incidents, although visits to the work place of professionals will occasionally be required. There is a small risk involved with approaching strangers due to the nature of the job. There are several skills and assets a person wanting to become a claims investigator will need. These include decision making skills, the ability to negotiate and good communication skills, confidence and self belief, initiative and an inquiring mind, good organisation and time management and finally, good numeracy and literacy skills.
Most companies employing claims investigators will require applicants to have a degree and particularly favour mathematics, law, economics or business/management graduates. Graduate applicants will generally enter the career through management training schemes offered by large insurance companies although it is possible to jump directly into claims work with specific training without a degree. The final entry route would be through starting in a junior position in a company and working up through promotions and training. Once appointed as a claims investigator, on the job training is widely available and particularly common in larger insurance companies. Studying to go onto chartered status in the Chartered Insurance Institute is also an option. To become an associate member generally takes around 2 to 3 years.