Physicians (MD, DO) practicing Insurance Medicine work within the fields of life, health, disability and long term care insurance. Medical Directors analyze medical records of applicants to determine insurance risk and to evaluate life and disability claims.

Insurance Medicine also provides opportunities for doctors to take on administrative roles, perform analytical research, and provide training for non-physician underwriters. Some Medical Directors are involved in product development and the marketing aspects of their company’s product line. Doctors practicing Insurance Medicine must be well versed in primary care and need expertise in interpretation of electrocardiograms (especially necessary for Life Insurance). A number of Medical Directors have specialty training in Internal Medicine subspecialties such as cardiology, oncology and pulmonary medicine. In addition to a fund of general medical knowledge, Medical Directors receive training on life expectancy estimation and risk assessment. Based upon current health assessment, a Medical Director predicts the probability of survival many decades into the future. The American Academy of Insurance Medicine (our professional society) sponsors a program for new Medical Directors at the annual meeting held each year in the fall. Additional training is largely provided on the job.

The American Academy of Insurance Medicine also sponsors other courses and scientific sessions to provide CME opportunities for practitioners of Insurance Medicine. The Board of Insurance Medicine (an arm of the American Academy of Insurance Medicine) administers elective written and oral examinations. Successful completion leads to certification as a Diplomate in Insurance Medicine.

In the US, there are about 500 doctors practicing Insurance Medicine in the life and disability fields. Beginning salaries vary and corporate benefit packages can add 25-30% or more to total compensation. A career in Insurance Medicine provides an intellectually stimulating job where a physician sees a spectrum of unusual diseases and disorders that they may never have had the opportunity to see in practice. More difficult to quantify but easy for any practicing physician to embrace, is the benefit of having no night, holiday and weekend call.

Openings in the field are limited and frequently, the hiring companies seek physicians experienced in the field of Insurance Medicine. Occasionally, there are opportunities for a practicing clinician to work part time for an insurance company while training in Insurance Medicine. A Medical Director may have to relocate to secure a position.

Insurance Medicine is a challenging and rewarding discipline. The industry is recognized by the AMA, where the American Academy of Insurance Medicine holds a seat at the House of Delegates.

To get a better understanding of the field, a physician interested in Insurance Medicine could attend an industry conference, network with colleagues in the industry, or connect with an executive search firm.

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