People who pursue careers as insurance fraud investigators should be prepared to handle stress brought on by disagreements with people who file questionable claims. Insurance investigators spend many hours gathering evidence to expose problems that may cause insurance companies to deny policyholders' claims. In any case, people who stick with the profession can earn high wages.
Insurance claims for unnecessary medical procedures, staged car crashes and false disabling injuries are just a few of the fraudulent activities that an insurance investigator might handle. Investigators also visit policyholders and interview witnesses associated with an insurance claim to get more information about an accident or other incident that led to a claim. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the mean annual salary for insurance investigators was $58,780 in 2009. A 2010 "Wall Street Journal" article titled "Making a Career of Investigating Insurance Fraud" cites a salary range for the profession of $45,000 to $92,000.
Insurance investigation attracts skilled people from other professions, including police officers and former military personnel. Therefore, the BLS indicates that competition for insurance investigation jobs is high, and people can earn significantly more than their previous job paid. Investigators working in Washington, D.C. in 2009 earned mean annual salaries of $77,180, which was among the highest salaries paid in the profession that year. Investigators also earned above-average salaries in New Jersey, where the mean annual wage was $67,190 in 2009.
Fraud investigators sometimes spend an entire day searching databases and making phone calls to investigate suspicious insurance claims. They also may spend several days on surveillance work. In its data on the profession, the BLS says investigators may spend a significant amount of time covertly observing people suspected of filing fraudulent workers compensation claims. An investigator observes a worker to determine if he's performing activities that suggest injuries cited in his claim are false. Insurance agencies are among the largest employers of fraud investigators. Investigators employed by insurance agencies in 2009 earned mean annual salaries of $57,420.
The BLS notes that a growing number of policyholders are having their claims settled in court, and insurance fraud cases are getting more complicated. Still, the BLS expects the employment of insurance investigators and others in related professions to increase only 7 percent through 2018, adding 20,900 to the industry. Computer technology has improved efficiency and reduced the time it takes to perform background checks and other tasks. Therefore, insurance companies need fewer investigators to handle fraud cases.