It's an insurance inspector's job to help insurance companies avoid huge
numbers of claims.
They 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
"My company wants us to check on the condition of buildings and to monitor
their present operations and inadequacies," says inspector Don Lopes.
In 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
After 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
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.
In 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
"Insurance inspectors work under a number of different titles, but the
job is the same," says Lopes. "They work for cities, municipalities [and]
Other 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.
If 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.