Trials, both civil and criminal, make use of expert witnesses on a regular basis in order to clarify evidence or explain highly technical evidence to the jury. An insurance expert may be needed to testify regarding the industry practices, or the practices of a particular insurer, for either a civil or criminal trial. For anyone who aspires to become an insurance expert witness, the proper education and experience will be necessary. The qualifications necessary to become an insurance expert witness will vary somewhat by jurisdiction; however, the basis needed to become an insurance expert witness will be similar across jurisdictions.
An insurance expert witness will most likely be needed to testify in a civil lawsuit, although an insurance expert may be needed for a criminal trial as well. An insured, for example, could sue an insurance company for not acting in good faith, which might require an expert to explain what the industry practices are regarding the requirement to act in good faith. An insurance expert could also be called to testify in a criminal trail where the defendant has been charged with insurance fraud. In either case, an expert is expected to have a superior understanding of the subject matter to which he or she plans to testify and be able to answer questions in an objective and truthful manner.
Insurance providers may or may not require agents to have a college degree in order to work for the company. In order to become an insurance expert witness, however, a college degree in business or economics is generally required. In fact, an advanced degree in business or a related field is preferable. Additional training, such as continuing education classes, is also helpful when trying to qualify as an expert witness.
Most importantly, for anyone who plans to become an insurance expert witness is a substantial and significant work history in the field. Supervisory experience is likely essential. In addition, experience teaching or writing on the subject of insurance procedures or laws is recommended. A general reputation among peers as an expert is also necessary to be considered an expert witness.
In most jurisdictions, the court where the case is being tried will make the ultimate decision whether or not a witness may testify as an expert witness. Typically, the judge will question the potential witness, under oath, regarding his or her educational background, work history, and general reputation among peers. If the judge is satisfied that the witness is qualified to answer questions as an expert, then he or she will certify the witness as an expert.