Insurance Claims Settler/Manager

The Job and What's Involved

Insurance claims settlers and managers deal with insurance claims made by customers. They are responsible for investigating incidents and paying claims.

Their work involves co-ordinating the services that may be required by policy holders following an incident, for example contacting builders to repair damage to a home or factory or an approved mechanic to mend a car or truck. They also decide the extent and validity of the claim and keep an eye out for fraud.

The work of settlers and managers may overlap, but claims settlers tend to deal with relatively straightforward claims that come under standard terms and conditions and have an agreed payout limit. Their work involves:

  • Logging insurance claims when they are initially reported.
  • Issuing claim forms.
  • Checking the details of the claim.
  • Checking that the premiums have been paid and the policy covers the claim.
  • Gathering information such as receipts or photographs.
  • Telling customers if the terms and conditions of their policy are affected and how much of the cost they need to pay.

Claims managers take overall responsibility for claims and oversee more complex cases. They may also deal with the more unusual cases that require more experience, or cases that have greater legal implications.

There are different types of insurance claims, including:

Third Party Liability - covering damage or injury suffered by someone as a result of the insured person's actions such as in a car accident.

Employee Liability - if an employee is injured at work.

Professional Indemnity - if someone, a solicitor or financial adviser for example, has given inaccurate advice.

Complex Property Claims - such as those which involve quantifying loss of stock and business after a major incident like a flood.

Product Claims - such as claims against the manufacturers of unsafe toys or faulty electrical goods.

Claims settlers and managers tend to specialise in one area such as home, motor, pet, travel or life insurance.

Most insurance companies have a list of approved tradespeople on whom they can call if immediate repairs are needed. The claims settler may liaise with tradespeople and arrange for them to visit the customer.

Managers are usually responsible for a team of claims settlers, scheduling work and making sure claims are dealt with efficiently and effectively. They also liaise with brokers and loss adjusters. If a customer is unhappy with their compensation, organisations such as the Financial Ombudsman Service or Association of British Insurers (ABI) may work with the manager to resolve the case.

Claims settlers and managers usually work around 35 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some work in contact centres, where shift work is common and may include weekends. Most insurers also operate a 24-hour service, with specialist claims personnel dealing with emergency claims, accidents, overseas claims and motor breakdowns.

Part-time work may be possible.

The work is office based and much of the time is spent on the phone gathering information and using email and messaging services. Claims managers and experienced settlers may need to visit brokers, solicitors and clients. They may travel throughout the UK and possibly overseas.

Starting salaries may range from £13,000 to £17,000 a year.
Experienced claims settlers may earn around £18,000 to £30,000.

Claims managers may earn from £30,000 to £60,000 a year.

Salaries in London may be significantly higher. Benefits can include private medical insurance, life insurance and discounted insurance premiums.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

The UK insurance industry currently employs around 210,000 people. Claims settlers and managers work for insurance brokers or for insurance, claims management or loss adjusting companies. Opportunities exist in major towns and cities, with regional call centres spread throughout the country.

Claims management is a core insurance function. Consequently, demand for claims people at all levels will continue.

Vacancies are advertised in national and regional media, specialist insurance publications such as Post Magazine, Insurance Age, Insurance Times and Claims Management. Financial recruitment agencies frequently advertise jobs too.

Education and Training

Some claims settlers can enter through an insurance company's graduate training programme. Most degree subjects are accepted, although a business or maths-orientated subject may be an advantage. Some programmes accept A level applicants with relevant insurance or contact centre work experience.

An understanding of numbers and good written communication skills are needed in claims management. GCSEs (A*-C) or Level 2 equivalent qualifications in English, maths and ICT are therefore useful. The Diploma in business, administration and finance or the Diploma in information technology may be relevant for this area of work.

It may be possible to enter via an Apprenticeship in providing financial services, which offers a general insurance pathway.

These are:

  • Level 2 Apprenticeship in providing financial services with no formal academic entry requirements
  • Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in providing financial services which requires qualifications such as GCSEs (A*- C) or completion of the Level 2 Apprenticeship in providing financial services

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

Claims managers normally start as claims settlers. At least five years' claims experience, along with supervisory and team leadership experience, is often needed.

Some people transfer directly into claims management after working in underwriting, loss adjusting or insurance customer service.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Junior claims handlers usually learn alongside experienced colleagues whilst undertaking formal training. This may include attending in-house courses on insurance, information technology, customer care and communication skills.

Increasingly, claims staff take professional insurance qualifications from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Most start at the Certificate level, although it is possible to take the CII Certificate in Financial Administration or the Foundation Insurance Test before the following:

  • CII Level 3 Certificate in Insurance (no entry requirements)
  • CII Diploma in Insurance
  • CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance, which leads to Associate membership of the CII (ACII)

Claims managers are normally expected to achieve full ACII status as their career progresses. Study for CII qualifications can be by distance learning, online learning, full time or part time study, day release, block release or evening classes.

People dealing with specialist claims, such as aviation or marine insurance in the London Market, may take the CII Level 3 Lloyd's and London Market Introductory Test (LLMIT) instead.

Claims settlers can also progress through qualifications offered by the ifs School of Finance (ifs), including:

  • Level 3 Certificate of Regulated General Insurance (CeRGI)
  • Applied Diploma in Risk and Insurance Management

Some may take NVQs Level 2 and 3 in retail financial services or more general NVQs in management and customer service.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A claims settler or manager should:

  • Have excellent customer service skills.
  • Be able to empathise and deal with clients who may be distressed.
  • Be calm but assertive.
  • Have good administrative skills.
  • Understand insurance and claims.
  • Have good attention to detail.
  • Be efficient and work well under pressure.
  • Have good computer skills.

Your Long Term Prospects

Claims settlers may gradually accept more responsibilities, progressing into team leader, supervisor and possibly claims management roles. Those taking relevant professional exams may move into related areas such as loss adjustment, insurance brokerage or sales.

With the CII Advanced Diploma and three years' documented continuing professional development (CPD), insurance professionals can apply for CII Fellowship and chartered status.

Get Further Information

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII),
42-48 High Road, South Woodford,
London E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8989 8464
Websites: www.cii.co.uk, www.discoverrisk.co.uk
and www.thepfs.org

ifs School of Finance, ifs House,
4-9 Burgate Lane, Canterbury CT1 2XJ
Tel: 01227 818609
Website: www.ifslearning.ac.uk

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