Insurance claims handlers, also called claims technicians, deal with claims made on insurance policies. Claims can be in connection with a wide range of matters, such as motor vehicle theft or accident, storm damage, illness or house theft.
You could be:
handling email and telephone enquiries from clients and handling a caseload, managing claims from start to end
gathering information about the insurance claim from the client and any others involved
issuing all relevant forms and dealing with correspondence
examining the details on completed forms and checking these against the cover provided by the insurance policy
consulting with other staff and negotiating with third parties to decide the outcome of the claim and any compensation to be paid
informing the client of the outcome of the claim
maintaining and updating computer records and paper files relating to claims
referring large or complex claims to other professionals such as a loss adjuster
following best practice procedures, such as ensuring new claim processes are completed within a certain time frame.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary is likely to be between £18,000 and £20,000 a year. More experienced claims handlers can earn between £20,000 and £30,000 a year. Claims managers can make between £40,000 to £60,000 per year or more.
There may also be benefits such as performance-related bonuses, cheap mortgage and insurance and a pension scheme.
You would be office based and work at a computer during normal office hours.
You might work in a call centre or on an emergency 24-hour telephone helpline. This may involve working shifts, including evenings, weekends and public holidays.
You may have to make occasional visits to clients, insurance companies, brokers or solicitors.
There are several routes into this job and entry requirements vary.
Some employers may recruit applicants who have at least a group of Highers and subjects at National 5. Passes should normally include English and Maths.
In some areas you may be able to get into a Modern Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services.
Some entrants may have an HNC (SCQF Level 7), HND (SCQF Level 8) or a degree (SCQF Level 9). Employers accept a wide range of subjects: accounting, business management, economics, finance, mathematics and statistics are particularly relevant.
Larger insurance companies with graduate training programmes may prefer graduates with a degree in a maths or business-related subject.
For entry to HNC and HND courses you normally need 1-2 Highers, and for degree courses 4-5 Highers, depending on where, and which subject, you study. Passes should normally include English and Maths.
Studying for a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship while in fifth and sixth year at school could count towards entry requirements of a course or Modern Apprenticeship. Entry requirements vary between colleges, but you usually require some subjects at National 5 including English and Maths.
Previous experience in banking, building society work or other financial or commercial areas is also very useful.
You would work for an insurance company or an insurance broker. Firms vary widely in size, but tend to be located in major towns and cities, with call centres based throughout the country.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
excellent verbal and written communication skills
good negotiation skills
attention to detail
good IT skills
good numerical ability.
You need to be:
able to provide excellent customer service
methodical and organised
able to work under pressure
good at making decisions
honest, trustworthy and discreet
tactful and assertive.
Training is normally on the job, working with experienced members of staff. Insurance companies usually have training programmes that give new entrants a wide range of experience.
Most trainees study part time for the qualifications in insurance awarded by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). These range from the introductory Award for the Foundation Insurance Test through to the Advanced Diploma in Insurance, up to Fellowship of the CII.
Within both the Certificate and the Diploma, you would be able to follow specialist courses for working in claims handling and claims management.
You can study for the CII qualifications by day or block release classes, evening classes or distance learning.
The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA) offers a Certificate Qualification (Cert CILA), which is an entry-level qualification for anyone in the claims industry, although you do need to be a member of CILA. There is an entry level membership.
You would probably specialise in one area of insurance, such as home, life, motor or travel insurance.
With experience, you may gain promotion to be a team leader or supervisor, and possibly progress into a claims management position.
If you study for the CII qualifications mentioned above, you may be able to move into other aspects of the insurance industry, such as broking, loss adjusting or underwriting.