Published on January 28, 2020 by Morgan Black  
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Samford University’s Brock School of Business has adapted its curriculum to incorporate programming focused on the popular fields of risk management and insurance.  

The decision to incorporate this new programming came after recognizing tremendous opportunities our students will have as they enter the workforce in this discipline. Nearly 800,000 professionals in the industry are projected to retire in the next few years. The programming will allow them to be well-versed on the subject matter and prepared to hit the ground running once they graduate. 

“I was thrilled when I heard about the new risk management and insurance program at Brock School of Business,” said Jack Elliott, chief administrative officer for CRC Group in Birmingham. “The insurance industry is flourishing with endless possibilities as we approach a time when more people are retiring, and we are filling those positions with a new generation.” 

Several activities are already approved and underway starting with the requirement for all finance majors to take the new Principles of Risk Management and Insurance course beginning the spring 2020 semester. This course will focus on personal and commercial risks and how to mitigate these risks through the use of various lines of insurance. Topics to be covered include risk, insurance and risk, risk management, enterprise risk management, types of insurers and marketing systems, insurance company operations, financial operations of insurers, government regulation, legal principles, insurance contracts, life insurance, health insurance, automobile insurance, and commercial property and liability insurance. 

Secondly, Samford officially chartered a chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma during the fraternity’s annual conference in Dallas in fall 2019. This international collegiate fraternity is the only one of its kind for students of insurance, risk management and actuarial science. The organization promotes and encourages student interest in the industry while boosting moral and scholastic attainments of its members. 

 “Attending the Gamma Iota Sigma conference provided an opportunity for Samford students to learn about cutting edge risk management and insurance topics, network with industry professionals and students from other universities, and interview for internships and full-time opportunities,” said Rusty Yerkes, associate professor of finance said. “Having a local chapter will allow us to host professional development and networking events, connect with local community business partners in corporate risk management and the insurance industry, and will broaden career opportunities available to business students from all disciplines.” 

Lastly, a professional advisory board has been established whose purpose is to help develop the next generation of risk management and insurance professionals. The advisory board consists of a group of industry professionals who are prepared to provide networking, mentorship, internship opportunities and more for our students looking to enter the field upon graduation.  

In the future, potential activities for the program may include the incorporation of a risk management and insurance concentration that would allow for more relevant coursework. Additionally, the students will be able to capitalize on the use of Samford’s university-owned Daniel House dormitory in London to leverage experiential learning opportunities in London’s booming insurance market. Other ideas include the possibility of creating a captive insurance fund that will be managed by the students, a dedicated workspace for students, and installing a faculty chair of the program. 

“Samford students have a unique opportunity to not only build strong relationships in the workforce, but in our communities as a whole,” Elliott, also a member of the advisory board, added. “Our industry is tied very close to the communities we live in. Just think about how every business and every individual in the community has insurance of their own, and how you, as insurance professionals, can transform communities and make a difference in our world.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.