Insurance Inspector  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotIt's an insurance inspector's job to help insurance companies avoid huge numbers of claims.

dotThey try to make sure there are no potential hazards that could cause fires, gas leaks, explosions, environmental damage or injuries to workers. This helps protect the insurance holder. It also reduces the chance that the insurance company will have to pay out money to cover an accident that could have been avoided.

"My company wants us to check on the condition of buildings and to monitor their present operations and inadequacies," says inspector Don Lopes.

dotIn other words, the goal of the inspector is to spot potential problems. This reduces the numbers of claims for the insurance company, and means lower premiums for those who buy insurance.

"Sometimes an inspector is sent in before a company even decides to insure a client, so the company knows what it's getting into," says consultant Gord Holyk.

dotAfter inspectors make their rounds, they write a report of what they've found. They make recommendations to the client explaining how to fix the problems they've spotted.

For example, clients may be required to fix a boiler, install smoke detectors or move dangerous chemicals away from work areas before the insurance company will agree to insure them.

dotIn order to do an accurate and thorough job, inspectors should have a technical knowledge of the things they are inspecting. Most inspectors have engineering diplomas or degrees, some practical experience or a combination of both education and experience.

"Insurance inspectors work under a number of different titles, but the job is the same," says Lopes. "They work for cities, municipalities [and] large corporations."

dotOther inspectors work for individual insurance companies. They can also work independently as consultants or contractors, which means they are self-employed and paid by the number of inspections they conduct.

dotIf you are interested in this career, be prepared to be flexible. You'll be working away from the office about 90 percent of the time, traveling to other areas and dealing with many different people and situations.

"You have to be self-disciplined. You're working on your own a lot -- making your own schedule -- and this is where people fail," says Lopes.

Kendra Bradley is an inspector who says that she chose self-employment because of the independence it offers. "I work the hours I want to work and I get paid well to do it."

Once you have it mastered, it's a nice part of the job. "The nice part about the job is the great amount of flexibility that you have. You're not confined to a particular space or environment," says Holyk.

At a Glance

Help keep homes and businesses free of risk

  • Computer skills are important
  • The idea is to spot potential problems
  • An engineering diploma or degree is a definite asset