Symposium explores insurance and risk management opportunities
by Kandace York
Insurance and risk management companies need new professionals to replace their aging workforce. In return, employees get stable careers with attractive wages and advancement opportunities.
That’s the theme of the Insurance and Risk Management Symposium on Thursday, October 19. The symposium is free to BGSU students.
While people often think of sales positions for the insurance field, J. Rockne (Roc) Starks said that’s just one small part of the profession. He’s an executive-in-residence and one of the instructors for the University’s three-year-old insurance and risk management program.
“We also need people with knowledge of health care administration and criminal justice to help with claims and investigations, along with people who know computer technology and actuarial or data science,” Starks said. “The talent gap in this field is one of the real challenges we face, but it’s good news for BG students, and we need to get that word out there.”
Students interested in learning more about these opportunities are invited to the October 19 symposium, which features Jillian Froment, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, as the keynote speaker. A panel of seven experts will discuss current and future challenges, including cybersecurity, driverless cars, and bitcoin/Blockchain technology.
“There’s so much happening in society right now,” Starks said. “The Affordable Care Act is a big issue that gets a lot of visibility, but plenty of other things are big concerns that people don’t think about until it affects them.”
One example is the National Flood Insurance Program, something most Americans probably didn’t know or care about much until Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. “The program is in trouble, and that’s something insurers need to manage if there’s going to be a viable way to help people in the future,” Starks said. “There are tons of things like this that have huge effects on people’s lives – things they never think about until it matters, and then it really matters. The insurance profession needs knowledgeable, well-trained professionals to lead these programs.”
The College of Business offers two options for students interested in insurance: a specialization (major) designed for business students, plus a minor that is open to all colleges and non-insurance majors. BGSU is one of only a few four-year degree programs in Ohio specifically focused on insurance.
The University’s insurance programs are coordinated by its Insurance and Risk Management Institute, a partnership that Starks said is an important bridge between educators and employers. “The institute relies heavily on professional leaders to help ensure that we are equipping our students with the best tools for success,” he explained. “These institute members also invest in our students; just this fall, we awarded $27,000 in scholarships. It’s good for our students and it’s good for the companies who employ them when they graduate.”