In 2012, when 13 leading Ohio insurance companies came together to form the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC), not a single insurance program existed at an Ohio college or university.
By the end of 2016, a collaboration of partners was formed to address a looming shortfall of candidates for insurance jobs – an estimated 29,000 by 2024. This partnership resulted in nine new college programs, created specifically to feed the talent pipeline.
Now, Ohio is getting a 10th. In January, the University of Akron announced it will offer a new bachelor’s degree in risk management and insurance (RMI) in the fall of 2017. Ravi Krovi, dean of the College of Business Administration, says the program was developed because the insurance industry “is a major employer in Ohio, and it’s important we help address the need for graduates ready to contribute to the field.”
Krovi says the degree will prepare students to identify, analyze and manage risk, training them for three professional pathways:
- Creating and servicing products for insurance companies
- Creating risk mitigation and loss prevention strategies at risk management firms
- Selling insurance contracts at agencies
Krovi notes that students with RMI degrees are trained for stable and high-paying jobs in an industry that drives the state’s economy. Not all degrees are so closely linked with in-demand careers as insurance-focused degrees are.
Kent State workshop focuses on undecided students
Kent State University wants to make sure its students who are still undecided on a major select one that provides a healthy return on their investment. On March 2, the Kent State insurance team hosted a workshop for academic advisors – those counseling students to help them reach their educational and career goals.
Industry representatives spoke about the learning and growth opportunities for new hires at their companies. Kent State followed the workshop on March 8 by hosting a career fair focused on opportunities in the insurance industry.
Ohio Insurance Institute gets IIRC update
Also on March 8, Mark Russell, IIRC co-chair and president and CEO of Ohio Mutual Insurance Company, and Sandra Harbrecht, president and CEO of Paul Werth Associates, explained the work of the IIRC in a presentation to Ohio Insurance Institute members.
Russell and Harbrecht noted that the insurance industry is a key economic driver of Ohio’s economy, contributing 39 percent more to Ohio’s GDP and 23 percent more to employment than one would expect in an economy of Ohio’s size.
Since 2012, the IIRC has identified 30 career pathways and worked with Ohio colleges and universities to create new insurance and risk management programs. Its marketing initiative, Insuring Ohio Futures, continues to drive interest in the industry and in new educational programs through on-campus events.
Recent and upcoming engagements include a March 16 program for students at Bowling Green State University, as well as those of March 21 and April 10 at Clark State Community College and Owens Community College, respectively. The Ohio Insurance Institute will hold an industry conference on April 6 in Columbus that will include a panel of students discussing their views on important industry issues and initiatives.
The IIRC is funded by:
Celina Insurance Group
Central Mutual Insurance Company
The Cincinnati Insurance Company
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Molina Healthcare of Ohio
Motorists Insurance Group
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Ohio Insurance Agents Association, Inc.
Ohio Mutual Insurance Group
State Auto Insurance Company of Ohio
Wayne Insurance Group
Westfield Insurance Company