In 2012 there was not a single Ohio college graduate who received a degree in insurance. It was a troubling fact for an industry, which is considered an economic pillar for the state of Ohio. Insurance employs over 100,000 Ohioans and contributes billions to the state’s gross domestic product. The industry worked around this challenge by recruiting insurance talent from colleges in other states and by hiring students from related disciplines in Ohio.
Today, nine Ohio colleges and universities offer insurance and risk management programs ranging from four-year bachelor degrees to two-year associate degrees and short-term certification programs. The pipeline of talent has been opened, and a new generation of insurance professionals is being trained in Ohio to work here. This dramatic shift in the education and training landscape is because the stakeholders partnered together to address a shortcoming.
The turning point came when the insurance industry in Ohio realized it was facing a substantial talent gap and that if not addressed would hinder the industry’s growth and optimization in the years to come. A 2013 study by the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC) identified that Ohio needs to add 26,000 new workers by 2020 in the property and casualty segment with tens of thousands more needed in life and health.
As the collective industry assessed the talent gap and the subsequent challenges, the critical missing piece from the talent pipeline was degree and certificate programs at Ohio colleges and universities.
“If you go back a generation, there were robust insurance programs at a number of Ohio colleges, but slowly the program enrollment eroded and students migrated toward other options. Neither the industry nor the colleges realized the long-term effect of those program’s demise,” said Dave Kaufman, CEO of The Motorists Insurance Group and co-chair of the IIRC." We began the Insuring Ohio Futures program to raise awareness and attract talent to the insurance industry and we realized that establishing multiple educational options was the long-term answer to bridge this talent gap. Individuals with an educational background in insurance and risk management will be talent equipped for success. Establishing these educational programs was critical, and it couldn’t have happened without tremendous partners.”
The State of Ohio played a key role. Jobs have been at the forefront of the Kasich-Taylor agenda and agencies like the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services have teamed with Ohio Higher Education and the colleges to support the insurance industry talent initiative.
“Gov. Kasich and I met with insurance leaders early in our administration and the reoccurring theme was the need to attract new talent to an industry which was being hit hard by baby boomers retiring,” said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor who is also the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “Multiple state agencies have worked with industry partners to grow the workforce, but a great deal of credit is owed to Ohio Higher Education and the colleges and universities for moving quickly to address the challenges identified by the industry. With the strong collaboration between the private sector and the state, we have been able to transform the landscape in just a few short years, and now educational programs exist that are ready to help Ohioans of all ages prepare for and claim good paying insurance jobs.”
Ohio Higher Education, formerly the Ohio Board of Regents, has been working diligently under the leadership of Chancellor John Carey to align post-secondary education with workforce development.
“The insurance industry engaged higher education and forged partnerships to create the different types of programs that were needed,” said Chancellor Carey. “This wasn’t a passive, ‘I hope you guys will build this approach.’ It was a true partnership led by business, which was instrumental in shaping the scope and focus of the programs. The colleges to their credit responded and have met the need. Nine new programs in four years is simply incredible. This industry and academic partnership is a model other sectors can and should emulate. The results speak for themselves, and there is now an educational infrastructure that will grow and thrive, as well as deliver talent to insurance for years to come.”
The nine Ohio colleges currently offering insurance education are (year founded):
- Kent State University (2012) – Bachelor Degree in Risk Management and Insurance
- University of Cincinnati (2013) -- Bachelor Degree and Minor in Insurance & Risk Management
- Franklin University (2013) – Bachelor Degree in Risk Management and Insurance
- Ohio Dominican University (2014) – Bachelor Degree and a Minor in Insurance and Risk Management as well as a Certificate in Insurance Studies
- Ohio Northern University (2014) – Bachelor Degree in Risk Management and Insurance
- Columbus State Community College (2014) – Certificate in Foundations of Insurance
- Bowling Green State University (2015) – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Insurance Specialization
- Clark State Community College (2015) – Associate Degree in Business Management with an Insurance Option
- Owens Community College (2016) – Associate Degree in Insurance Studies
The nine programs currently have 216 students enrolled, which is over a 100-percent increase from spring of 2015 and represents over 450-percent increase since the spring of the 2014 academic year.