You’ve had an accident? Lost something? Your shiny new car has been damaged beyond repair? Who are you gonna call? The insurance claims handler, of course.

Nowadays there are insurance policies available to protect individuals and companies financially in a huge variety of scenarios. If the unfortunate time occurs when you do have to make an insurance claim, you will have to contact your policy provider. The first representative of your insurance company you’ll speak with to make your claim will usually be the insurance claims handler.

Insurance claims handlers work for insurance companies or insurance broker firm – a firm that seeks out the best insurance policy deals on the market for their clients and brings agreements together between their clients and insurance firms, making a commission on the sales they make.

How do claims work?

When a claim is made (a request put forward for the insurance company to pay out according to an insurance policy), there is a set procedure to follow. An insurance claims handler will speak to the customer making the claim and take down all of the details. They will then send over the relevant paper work for them to fill out.

Then an official review process begins. The claims handler, or claims negotiator, must look at all available information and investigate to see that the claim falls within the terms of the insurance policy. They must suss out is it’s a ‘fault’ or non-fault’ policy, which could affect how much is paid out, or determine whether the insurance company is actually liable to pay out according to the terms of the policy at all. It’s their job to spot anything that looks shifty and could indicate a potential fraudulent claim.

During this process the claim handler will juggle correspondence with various people. They may liaise with other insurance professionals such as negotiators, loss adjusters and solicitors, as well as opinions such as that of engineers in motor cases, surveyors in building/property cases or doctors in personal injury cases, to gain the best picture possible of what happened and decide if the claim is valid, invalid or fraudulent. They’ll have to prepare statistics and reports too whenever necessary, so high levels of organisation are key.

Claim handlers must also keep the client fully informed and make sure they have all of the right information. As a client-facing role, customer service skills and confidence in speaking to a variety of people are paramount. They have to exercise sensitivity and confidentiality at all times, particularly when they’re working on cases regarding personal injury or significant losses, and uphold industry standards. These guys will keep everything moving to ensure that cases are tied up as quickly as possible, with the right payment made if the claim is valid.

Interested in claims?

There are plenty of options for where to focus as a claim handler or negotiators, as the majority of roles focus on one particular area, such motor insurance, property, life insurance companies or personal injury claims. They also tend to focus on either commercial or personal cases.

You could get into claims as either a school leaver or a graduate. Salaries for claims negotiators or claims handlers sit at around £18,000 to £25,000. In the City, this can bump up to around £30,000 to £40,000.