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Fork in the Road: Police Dept. or Insurance Investigation?

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  • Fork in the Road: Police Dept. or Insurance Investigation?

    I'd like to get the opinion of people who have already gotten into law enforcement; I am 21 years old, coming out of college in the spring with my BA and AA. I have planned on going into law enforcement ever since I was in high school all the way through college up until I got talking to a close family friend, who introduced me to SIU: Special Investigations Unit for insurance companies. I'm sure most of you all know what they do, investigate possible insurance fraud. They pay very well, good benefits, they provide you with a vehicle, laptop, cell phone, and some companies even a gas card for your vehicle. Field officers can work from home as well. I was told by this person that he may possibly be able to get me a job within their SIU unit coming out of college, but for the past 7 years or so I've been planning on going into law enforcement. What would you have done in my situation, go into law enforcement because it's something you've always wanted to do, or go into an investigations job in the private sector where you'll be making more money?

  • #2
    If you have always wanted to go into law enforcement this should be a no brainer. If the insurance company will hire you right out of college, then they'll definetly hire you after you've been a cop.

    If you go with the insurance company and bypass law enforcement, you'll always have that question in the back of your mind.

    Going through the academy at a younger age is easier on the body...trust me.

    Good luck
    sigpic

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    • #3
      The great majority of the jobs you refer to are held by former, or retired Law Enforcement Officers. If your dream has been to go into law enforcement, then that's what you should attempt to do. The majority of insurance firms that offer the "investigator" jobs you mentioned, far prefer applicants with substantial police experience. There may be some exceptions to that, but that's pretty much the rule. BTW. For many years prior to my retirement, I had a gas card (issued by the state), a take home car, a lap top. Other cool goodies , and the money wasn't too bad either. Get my drift? Good luck!

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      • #4
        The only ins. investigators I have known have had significant police experience.

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        • #5
          I used to work IT. I'm a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. Obviously I don't do that any longer.

          Working a job you don't like just because it pays well isn't worth it, or at least it wasn't for me.
          I miss you, Dave.
          http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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          • #6
            I don't know how the Department of Insurance is set up in Maryland, but here in California, the Department of Insurance has it's own Fraud Division made up of sworn Detectives. We have arrest powers, carry firearms, and issued undercover code-3 equipped take home vehicles.

            We work very closely with the Insurance Company SIU's and get the majority of our cases from them. The job is equivalent to working a financial crimes or fraud unit in the PD.

            You should research the Maryland DOI and see if they're Investigators are sworn. Judging from what I saw on the website it looks like they may not be, but you should verify for yourself. If they are sworn and if insurance fraud investigtation is something you're really interested in then you should apply. In California all that is required is a Criminal Justice Degree to qualify for the examination. If you are interested in patrol type work then you should definitely go the PD route.

            As stated by others earlier, many LEO's go on to work for the SIU's upon retirement. A lot of our retirees from the CA DOI have gone on to actually get higher ranking SIU positions because of their extensive insurance fraud experience.

            Coming out of college with a CJ degree, I thought my only options were a local PD or a Federal Agency. I did not realize that in California there are numerous State Law Enforcement Agencies responsible for investigating specific violations such as the Medical Board, DMV, and Alcohol Beverage Control. Whenever I go out and do recuitment at the colleges, I point this out because not everyone knows about this level of law enforcement. I think it's a great job for those who are not necessarily interested in doing patrol work and want to work an investigative assignment right from the start.

            Along with the college graduates with no prior LE experience we also get a lot of laterals/retirees from PD's, other State Departments, and Federal Agency retirees.
            MrVega$
            Forum Member
            Last edited by MrVega$; 11-15-2007, 12:41 PM. Reason: Additional Information
            Running is not a plan, running is what you do when a plan fails. -Tremors

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            • #7
              When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
              "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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              • #8
                Well the family friend is actually the director of SIU for the northeast region of a big name insurance company, and I've done a lot of talking with him. I know they seem to hire only LEOs, and I hate to say this, but I think he can help get me in somewhere, it's up to me if I can make something of it. Yes, the majority of the people who are doing SIU are retired LEO with significant investigating experience, however, he said they're starting to not rely on them as much because they are having the issue where these guys don't want to work, nor don't have the energy and desire since they consider themselves "retired" already. They are starting to look at college grads more now because they're hungry to work, willing to put in all the time neccessary and basically work their asses off. He was telling me that they can teach a monkey to investigate, but it's the fact that you can't teach work ethic. Not saying the retired LEOs who go into SIU don't have a great work ethic, but that many do not have the desire to put in the effort and time that someone coming fresh out of college is willing to.

                I've never heard of the state agencies who investigate insurance fraud or other types of fraud, that seems very interesting. In MD I do not believe we have anything like that. Although, upon graduation, I will me moving to the Tampa area (FL). Do you know if Florida has any state agencies like that? When I think state agency, I think of just Highway Patrol. If there is a state agency in Florida who deal with different types of investigations, that might be something for me to look into...

                I guess the only reason why I am being hesitant at all with going into law enforcement is from some of the stuff I've heard, such as being very tough on families resulting in divorces, police officers barely able to pay off bills and living paycheck to paycheck, as if the stresses from the job aren't enough... again, all from what I've heard. I'd like to hear otherwise.
                smbartlett
                Forum Member
                Last edited by smbartlett; 11-15-2007, 05:56 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Outshined
                  How do you get these Investigator jobs? I have been kicking it around for some time as I am close to retirement.
                  A good resource is www.iasiu.org , they have all types of job listings, info about SIU, etc. Great resource.

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                  • #10
                    I think that's the beauty of working in a State Investigative Agency, we have all the powers and priveleges of a uniformed officer, but do not have to worry about things like shift work, working on holidays, and mandatory overtime. California the State Investigative Agencies are pretty much a M-F 8-5 operations. There are of course instances when you will be working overtime and/or weekends for enforcement operations like search warrants, arrest sweeps, undercover operations etc.

                    We may not get paid as much as the PD, but fringe benefits more than make up for it.
                    Running is not a plan, running is what you do when a plan fails. -Tremors

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Outshined
                      How do you get these Investigator jobs? I have been kicking it around for some time as I am close to retirement.
                      Here's where to find them in sunny California:

                      http://jobs.spb.ca.gov/exams_occgroup2.cfm?mac=11
                      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                      • #12
                        If this insurance job is guaranteed take it. You are 21 years old. Getting on a police department is no guarantee. There are several people out there who have tested for years and not gotten hired. If you take the job, wind up being bored to death after a few years then start going through the testing process of becoming a cop. You won't be teathered to this insurance job plus in a few years you will be more marketable to a police department with some valuable life expierience. Another thing to consider is here in illinois police chiefs make around 100k to 200k. An insurance executive will easily triple a high paid police chief.
                        My worst day as a police officer is a million times better than the best day on any other job!

                        RIP Joseph Bokholdt 2-14-1983 to 5-27-2008.

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                        • #13
                          If money is the issue you should forget about L.E alltogether because just about any profession pays better when you look at the backgrounds of most cops that have both college and military. If you want to be a cop then be one. Dont believe that being an insurance investigator is in any way similar to working patrol and handling the wide variety of interactions we have with the public in general. I'd do the smart thing though, take the insurance job then go through the riggorious and long winded process of applying to police departments then if you get an offer a year down the road you can revist this question and make a decision then. A bird in the hand is better than one in the bush. Dont put all your eggs into the L.E basket when you have a opprotunity now versus what may happen. When I got into L.E it was a life long ambition and dream so no job no matter what the amount of money was there interested me in the least. After 14years of it though and having hindsight if I was your dad I'd tell you like I did. Take the insurance job. Then continue your endeavor by going through the hiring process with a P.D. THEN come back on here and ask. I'd hate to see you pass up a good job and not get on with a P.D especially if you have others relying on your income as well.
                          "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mz248
                            That's excellent advice. If you like the insurance business and decide to make that a career then you made a good move. If you don't like it and want to work in law enforcement several years of insurance investigative experience can do nothing but help you in the hiring process. Most new officers don't have that background so you would have some unique experience that would set you apart from the crowd and should make you a very competitive candidate for most law enforcement jobs.

                            This is excellent advice guys, and I never thought of it that way. Thank you all for your help!

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