Insurance Claims Officer
Āpiha Tono Rīanga
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Insurance claims officers decide whether an insurance company will settle a claim.
Insurance claims officers usually earn
$45K-$75K per year
Team leaders and managers usually earn
$60K-$130K per year
Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
Pay for insurance claims officers varies depending on role and experience.
Claims officers usually earn between $45,000 and $75,000 a year.
Team leaders and managers usually earn between $60,000 and $130,000.
Source: Hays, 'Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
What you will do
Insurance claims officers may do some or all of the following:
- analyse the claim and decide whether it is covered by the policy
- appoint insurance loss adjusters and private investigators when required
- manage long-term claims and reassess them regularly
- make recommendations for the settlement of claims
- inform clients if claims are accepted and how they will be allocated
- organise payments to clients
- organise the repair or replacement of lost items
- make sure all enquiries and payments are dealt with quickly
- keep clients' files updated
- record payments made and received
- contact independent experts in the case of disputes and attend disputes tribunals.
Skills and knowledge
Insurance claims officers need to have:
- understanding of the insurance industry, particularly the area they work in, such as fire, life, accident or marine insurance
- knowledge of insurance policies, including what each policy covers
- an understanding of relevant laws, such as the Privacy Act and the Human Rights Act
- knowledge of their company's insurance policies.
It is also useful if insurance claims officers understand the risks involved in different occupations.
Insurance claims officers:
- usually work regular hours, but may work weekends or evenings to meet deadlines or if they are on call
- work in offices, but may travel locally to Disputes Tribunal hearings.
What's the job really like?
Insurance claims officer profile - Julie Chamberlain
Mt Erebus tragedy a motivating factor
When an Air New Zealand flight crashed into Mt Erebus in Antarctica in 1979, killing all 257 people on-board, it motivated Julie Chamberlain to become an insurance claims officer. She had been working in the administration department of an insurance company that had insured eight people on board the ill-fated aircraft.
Julie helped process the claims after the accident. "There were people of all ages left with nothing; mums or dads with children - their partner goes on a flight and never comes back. We could actually help people by paying out these claims."
Making the best of a bad situation
Julie says her role can be difficult at times, especially when dealing with terminal illness claims.
"To talk to the family member when this person is still here but there's no hope is really quite hard to get your head round. I did go home after one meeting and have a cry.
"But this is reality - this is life and this is what happens. People get sick and people die; people have accidents and it is really hard at times. But I think you need to see the positive side. You have to realise that you are actually helping people."
There are no specific entry requirements to become an insurance claims officer, but some employers may prefer you to have completed tertiary training. Medical or paramedical qualifications are helpful for insurance claims officers working in the area of health, disability or life insurance.
Training on the job
Skills are gained on the job. Insurance claims officers attend in-house training and private courses in their specialist area.
The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) offers courses to diploma level in general and life insurance that focus on developing technical insurance skills for claims staff.
A tertiary entrance qualification with skills in English and maths is preferred.
Insurance claims officers need to be:
- good communicators and negotiators
- good at report writing
- good at analysing and interpreting information, including legal documents
- able to relate to a wide range of people
- tactful, patient and calm
- empathetic, diplomatic and fair
- logical and perceptive
- motivated and disciplined
- accurate, with an eye for detail
- organised and able to work well under pressure.
You need to be able to talk with all sorts of people, but more importantly, you need to be able to listen.
Troy King - Claims Officer
Useful experience includes previous work experience within the insurance industry, such as in underwriting, sales or customer service. Work in the legal, customer service, health, finance or banking industries may also be useful.
Find out more about training
- The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance
What are the chances of getting a job?
According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates, the number of people employed as insurance claims officers increased 5% between 2010 and 2012.
The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes created a short-term rise in demand for insurance claims officers, however most of these roles have been fixed-term and have not led to an increase in permanent employees. Further weather and earthquake events have also sustained the need for additional temporary claims staff.
Employed by insurance companies
Insurance claims officers work for insurance companies.
- Hays, '2013 Hays Salary Guide', 2013. (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Hays Quarterly Report October-December 2013, Insurance', 2013. (www.hays.net.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Progression and specialisations
Insurance claims officers can progress into supervisory or management roles within insurance companies, or move into other insurance roles, such as an insurance representative or underwriter.
Insurance claims officers may specialise in general insurance, which includes house and contents, commercial, motor vehicle and marine insurance; or life insurance, which includes health insurance, disability insurance and superannuation.
Last updated 30 May 2017