From drugs busts in Louisiana to fraud investigations in Afghanistan

Narcotics detective to insurance case manager may seem like a peculiar career trajectory to some.

But for Tim Crabtree, national accounts director for Tangiers International, the connection between these seemingly disparate professions is obvious: solving puzzles.

Tim, a US-national originally from Los Angeles, built up his particular skill-set while working in law enforcement for the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana.

It was a little while later, after having branched out into private investigations, that he caught the attention of Tangiers-founder Christopher Catrambone. The pair worked together on a routine-investigation but it was enough to convince Chris that Tim could play a significant part in the company’s future.

Tim said: “Tangiers offered something else that I might have been looking for. A great adventure and an opportunity to be part of something that was growing and something that was exciting.”

After joining the team as a case manager in September 2008, Tim quickly began utilising the skills he’d picked up in law enforcement and the world of private investigations.

“I think it takes a particular type of person to do this work and, essentially, to do it well,” he explained. “You have a gut feeling to gather the various pieces of evidence and figure it out. It’s just something that I’ve always been drawn to.”

But his role with Tangiers – which eventually developed into operations director, chief operations officer and chief investigations officer before adopting his current title – was sometimes a far cry from the world of drug busts and gang violence on the streets of Baton Rouge.

Tim travelled to countries including Uganda and Afghanistan as he assisted agents in the field perform the crucial work of claim investigations for some of the world’s largest insurance companies. One case that sticks in his memory is a death investigation in Afghanistan, where Tangiers uncovered a massive and systematic fraud being perpetrated by an Afghan-national working for a US security company.

Despite the complexity of these cases and the formidable environments agents and managers often faced, Tim was aware that his number one priority was achieving a clear objective from a client.

“If you’re case managing a particular assignment then you’re responsible for making sure the client’s objectives are done. And in a timely manner,” he added.

“Basically, the best way to put it is that our goal is finding the truth, no matter what – if it’s something that leads to finding that fraud was committed in a claim or that the claim was completely legitimate.”

These days, however, Tim takes a more background role in day-to-day operations – reviewing files, liaising with clients and making sure everything runs as smoothly as when he was in the thick of it. But does he miss the excitement of some of his former roles, getting out into the field and dealing with people face-to-face?

“I cannot really say that I miss it. But I certainly enjoyed it,” he explained. “It’s always good to be able to go where you’re needed.”