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Collegiate Programs Help Build the Industry’s Future

Collegiate Programs Help Build the Industry’s Future

The Florida Insurance Council recently concluded its summer symposium discussing a variety of topics related to the insurance industry.  Among this year’s topics, FIC gave me the opportunity to provide a brief update on the successes of the Florida State University College of Business’ Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance.  Over the last several years, I have served as chairman of the Executive Council supporting the FSU risk management program.  With this perspective, I shared the following information about the FSU program.

The insurance industry faces challenges in attracting qualified employees.  According to recent statistics, nearly 1/4 of the industry’s workforce is nearing retirement age.  A majority of insurers are adding staff, and in particular are looking for employees versed in underwriting, claims handling, technology and actuarial science.  Programs such as FSU’s program in risk management and insurance make up part of the solution for the industry as they turn out high quality graduates who have a demonstrated interest in the insurance business.  In addition, graduate programs such as FSU’s Master’s program in risk management and insurance allow existing employees to seek upward advancement even while maintain their current jobs and income.

The FSU program is ranked 6th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and 4th among public schools.  Further, in a recent Best’s Review analysis, FSU was one of four schools named to the nation’s top tier of risk management and insurance programs.

Over the last five years, the number of undergraduates majoring in risk management and insurance has more than tripled, from 99 students to 327 students.  Likewise, Master’s program students have increased from about 20 to about 40.  One factor contributing to the increased enrollment, particularly among undergraduates, is the university’s emphasis on exposing all business majors to concepts in risk management and insurance.  At that time, they also hear from industry representatives who talk about the many aspects of the insurance industry.  Coupled with high job placement rates and competitive starting salaries, these steps have increased interest in risk management and insurance as a major.  Many students (about half) combine a major in risk management and insurance with another discipline such as sales, accounting, or actuarial science.  These students are graduating with skills that allow them to advance quickly when they enter the workforce.

As the number of majors increases, so does the desire for industry involvement.  The insurance industry has an opportunity to support its own future by assisting college risk management programs in their missions.  Employers in the insurance industry can recruit graduating students, provide internships, serve as mentors, and of course provide financial support.  The students benefit from these experiences, and in the long run the industry benefits from developing future employees with the skills needed to advance the industry.