'Insurance is in my blood'


MAIF special investigator started in the business directly out of high school


Jackie Bodnar

Special investigator and field claims representative

Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, Annapolis

Salary: $59,400

Age: 47

Years on the job: Seven

How she got started: Bodnar started in the insurance business out of high school, including working at MAIF as a claims adjuster. In 1983, she took a voluntary layoff while she raised her three children.

She returned to work at another insurance agency and took on other jobs outside of the industry. But seven years ago, she returned to MAIF as a total loss specialist. She has since moved up to her current position.

"Insurance is in my blood," said Bodnar, whose father, brother and sister all worked in the industry. "It's what I like, and it's what I know."

Typical day: Although Bodnar must report to the Annapolis office on occasion, she mostly works out of her Westminster home. She covers territory all over Maryland with Baltimore City being her largest area.

As a field claims representative, she "does everything that an office claim rep can't do because they're in the office." This includes taking photographs of locations where accidents occurred, identifying witnesses, recording statements and attending pretrial settlement hearings at courthouses.

As a special investigator, she looks into claims flagged for possible fraud. This includes taking statements, interviewing witnesses and researching background information from law enforcement databases. She also trains insurance adjusters on how to spot fraudulent claims.

Bodnar normally works during the day, but on occasion she'll have to record testimony when people are home from work, which means evenings and weekends.

MAIF: Insures high-risk motorists that have been turned down by at least two private insurance companies.

Pretrial hearings: This is a chance for claimants to settle out of court. "When I go in I know the claim like the back of my hand so I love to negotiate the claim."

Equipment: Bodnar receives assignments from a laptop and can electronically send testimony or photographs to the claims adjusters working the case. Her company car is wired, so she can operate her laptop in the field.

The good: "The variety of people I meet on a daily basis. I have contact with so many interesting people."

The bad: Traffic. But she also mentioned that it's her job to assist other adjusters, so she usually doesn't get to see cases resolved. "That's hard because you get so involved."

Philosophy on the job: "Never forget people are people and that they're human."

Extracurriculars: Bodnar is an active member of such crime investigation organizations as the Chesapeake Chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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