All businesses manage risk. There’s a huge need for new talent in this field since 50 percent of the industry is retiring in the next five to 10 years.
The CU Denver Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) program addresses this gap by educating students on minimizing and preventing loss as well as managing risk across a variety of industries. The program offers students countless opportunities to connect to industry leaders throughout their time at CU Denver. These efforts pay off, with their 100 percent job placement rate for graduates.
Recently two students were sponsored to attend the annual Surplus Lines Association of California (SLA) meeting. Below Iris outlined her experience on this quick trip and what she learned from leaders in the risk and insurance industry.
The purpose of this trip was to meet with professionals from the California Surplus Lines industry and attend the annual SLA meeting. After being able to speak to various industry executives and professionals, I have a better grasp on the E&S sector of insurance, and I feel better prepared for my internship with Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) this summer.
Our first stop was the California SLA offices, where we were able to meet with several employees of the organization and hear firsthand the background and current challenges of surplus lines in California.
“I have a better grasp on the E&S sector of insurance, and I feel better prepared for my internship with Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) this summer.”
A subject mentioned by Pat McAuley, Senior Vice President of California SLA, was the issue of insuring the cannabis industry since California, like Colorado, had recently legalized the use of marijuana for recreational use. Pat discussed how the conflict between state and federal level legislation on cannabis had raised major concerns among insurance companies.
I am intrigued by the surplus lines industry, because it is at the forefront of changes in risks faced by the insurance industry, like cannabis legislation.
As part of our visit with California SLA, we met with several members of NextGen for lunch. NextGen is a committee of young insurance professionals who work to keep members engaged and to attract new and younger talent. The majority of the NextGen members I met were underwriters or had begun their careers as an underwriter. I was under the impression that underwriting is where many professionals start, which is exciting as I will be working directly with underwriters as an intern at Hallmark Financial Services in Fort Worth, Texas.
Another great opportunity this trip provided was meeting executive level professionals at companies like Zurich, AmWins, and RT Specialty. I had some questions prepared beforehand, which mostly touched on the subject of what a company looks for in a new graduate hire. I wanted to pick the brains of these executives to know what I could do to better prepare myself for a career in insurance.
“What companies look for in new hires is soft skills like the ability to communicate, work in teams, problem-solve, and think critically.”
What I found was that companies look for in new hires is soft skills like the ability to communicate, work in teams, problem-solve, and think critically. Cheryl Arceneaux, Construction Regional VP at Zurich, elaborated on how soft skills can prove more difficult to teach and learn compared to the technical aspects of insurance.
The biggest takeaway from this trip is the realization that the insurance industry is eager for new and young talent. Nearly every company that we visited had some program in place to recruit and foster new talent. From underwriting training programs to individual employee development plans, these companies are committed to helping employees grow and succeed. Every single professional that I had the pleasure of meeting was incredibly welcoming and receptive to any questions I had.
“The biggest takeaway from this trip is the realization that the insurance industry is eager for new and young talent.”