12 March 2019

Captives miss out on interns because of knowledge gap

There is little crossover between academia and the insurance industry, which is especially true for the lesser known captive industry, and more work should be done to make students “industry ready”.

This is according to a panel at the CICA conference, ‘Students: Bridge between academia and industry’. Speakers included: Matt Blessing, underwriting manager, RT Specialty; Daniel Freeman, student of RMI, Missouri State University (MSU); Kathleen Larkin, instructor of risk and insurance at MSU; Kristen Peed, director of corporate risk management, CBIZ; John Talley, captive programme manager, DIFP, Missouri.

MSU teaches one of the 52 Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) programmes being taught across the US, which the panel said are perhaps underappreciated by captives but are “extremely valuable”.

“If I was a captive and I had to pick the 4.0 GPA political science student versus the 3 point whatever RMI student - I’d take them everytime,” said Larkin.

Larkin, who teaches insurance at MSU, explained that most of her RMI students typically go on to work for a carrier or a broker, or some of them go onto be risk managers, however there is a lack of awareness of the captives industry.

“They don’t go to a captive because they don’t know who you are,” she said.

Talley also suggested that it can be difficult to find opportunities for students to work with a captive, as they would have to have to go directly to a parent organisation which may not openly advertise the fact it has a captive.

“Most captives don’t have any employees, to be very honest,” said Talley. “They are a creature of the accounting sheet.”

Blessing suggested that getting into the insurance industry is much different to how it used to be, and hiring managers will want candidates who know what insurance is, and are familiar with more advanced concepts such as indemnification. He also advocated internship programmes in the sector, and claims over 100 students applied for internships at Ryan Specialty Group in the past year.

Peed helped develop an internship programme at CBIZ, a financial and insurance services provider, and claims that there was a 100 percent success rate of interns getting a job in the insurance industry following internships programme.

“One of the most important things you can do is develop and internship programme at your company,” said Peed.

“I spend time and money training students. The are going to be great brand ambassadors for CBIZ and the risk management industry.

Freeman suggested that there needs to be more RMI programmes taught across the US, as the industry is experiencing exponential growth and there will be an increasing talent gap in the years to come.

“You don’t need someone with five years’ experience; you need someone with an RMI degree,” he argued.