The Insurance Fraud Investigator is the first line of defence against insurance fraud. There are no formal education requirements for the position of Insurance Fraud Investigator, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most insurance related companies, however, tend to hire individuals with college degrees, those with relevant job experience or relevant training through various vocational schools.
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Insurance Fraud Investigators require ingenuity, persistence and assertiveness. They should display good interviewing and interrogation skills and should not be afraid of confrontations. Since they may be required to conduct long periods of surveillance, patience is of utmost importance.
Insurance companies first look for individuals with previous law enforcement experience, an area which would aid in developing all of the above skills. Individuals already employed by insurance related companies, such as claims adjusters, are in a position to take advantage of in-house training programmes.
Insurance Fraud Investigators may specialise in one or more types of investigations. For instance, arson investigations require specialised training or experience, as would investigations into traffic accidents, which often necessitate the reconstruction of events based on physical evidence and witness testimony.
Investigation into a suspect worker's compensation claim normally involves taking written and/or recorded statements from claimants and witnesses, while product liability claims may require extensive research into the manufacture and proper use of various commercial products.
Defense against bodily injury claims, resulting from "slip and fall" incidents occurring on commercial properties or even private property, often rely entirely on extensive surveillance.
Surveillance may be required to some extent in all of the above.
Many colleges and universities offer courses related to law enforcement, which provides the applicant with relevant training. In addition, many vocational schools offer law enforcement, security and insurance related courses, all of which would add to an applicant's qualifications.
Licensing requirements vary greatly from state to state. In some states an Insurance Fraud Investigator employed by an insurance company, and trained in-house, may not require licensing at all. Other states require some amount of time spent working as an apprentice. In some states, Insurance Fraud Investigators face the same training and educational requirements as do private investigators and security officers. In addition to the initial training, participation in an ongoing educational program is often required before licenses can be periodically renewed.
In Oklahoma, and possibly other states as well, private investigators and Insurance Fraud Investigators are licensed through the offices of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET), the same organisation that provides ongoing training and education for Oklahoma Law Enforcement Officers.
Certification is available in many areas through years of experience, additional training programmes or professional accomplishments. Certification is not required, but aids in advancement within the company and within the industry. Membership in various professional organisations, such as the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU), will offer the Insurance Fraud Investigator additional opportunities for ongoing training in such areas as ethics, as well as certification as an Insurance Fraud Investigator.
While extensive training may not always be required, there are more individuals seeking employment as Insurance Fraud Investigators than there are openings. Competition is keen, and will remain so, because the occupation attracts applicants from the ranks of retired law enforcement officers and the military.
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