Preparing for Innovation and Great Careers

February 4th, 2018


On January 26, 2018, the IIRC hosted several conversations as the premier sponsor at the Gamma Iota Sigma Ohio Regional Conference at The Ohio State University. Gamma Iota Sigma is an international business fraternity for students of insurance, risk management and actuarial science, with over 75 chapters across North America.

At the Ohio Regional Conference, students from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania met with many of Ohio’s top insurance executives and spoke with corporate recruiters at the event’s career fair.

On behalf of the IIRC, President and CEO of State Auto Insurance Companies, Mike LaRocco spoke to students about the many changes impacting the insurance industry including technological advancements, the image of the industry and the widening talent gap.

“The real issue is the perception of this industry,” LaRocco noted. “The insurance industry is dynamic, changing, creative, innovative and incredibly important. That’s not the perception, and it has to change.”

In addition to offering advice for students as they join the workforce, LaRocco touched on an aspect of insurance that seems to be a strong driving factor for many millennials’ career decisions: having an impact on others. “For all the change that’s coming, this fact doesn’t change: we take care of people,” he said. “I want people who are passionate about that.”

Following the keynote address, an IIRC industry panel discussed transformations in the insurance industry and how students can position themselves for success in an ever-changing industry. The panel included Casie Grau (Ohio Mutual Insurance Group), Erik Ross (Nationwide Insurance), Doreen DeLaney Crawley (Grange Insurance), and Meg Allwein (Assurex Global).

“Disruption and change have always been a part of insurance,” said Allwein, SVP and chief quality officer at Assurex Global. “The difference is the pace at which it’s happening now. Companies need to be nimble, willing to take risks, and willing to fail so that they can learn from it.”

The panelists also shared what their companies are doing to foster growth and innovation.

“We’ve held nine innovation education sessions where our employees work in teams to perform tech activities and competitions, like making their own chat boxes,” said Doreen DeLaney Crawley, chief operating officer at Grange Insurance. “These investments have opened our eyes as well as our employees’ eyes about innovation and changes. Some of the people that you’d least expect come up with the best ideas.”

Following the industry panel, students headed to the career fair where 14 top insurance companies hosted booths, including many IIRC members like Nationwide Insurance, Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, Westfield Insurance and Hylant. With more than 80 insurance and risk management specific students from around the country, the Gamma Iota Sigma Ohio Regional Conference was a tremendous success in connecting IIRC members with knowledgeable students who are ready to lead the new wave of innovation for Ohio’s insurance industry.