Published on April 25, 2022 by Morgan Black  
Insurance Sales Competition April22
Associate Professor Rusty Yerkes, Copeland Petitfils, Alex Lewandowski, Kaleb Dillard and Associate Professor Clif Eason, coordinator of Samford's professional sales concentration
Samford University business students Copeland Petitfils, Alexandra Lewandowski and Kaleb Dillard competed in the Intercollegiate Insurance Sales Challenge, April 13-14, 2022. Petitfils and Lewandowski advanced to the final round, finishing as runners-up in the national competition.
 
Students from 11 teams, representing seven universities across the nation including Samford, the University of Georgia, Florida State University, Temple University, Illinois State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Olivet Nazarene University competed in the competition which tested their technical knowledge of the insurance industry, as well as their sales skills. The competition, hosted by Florida State University’s Center for Risk Management Education & Research, held its first round in February on each participating university’s campus. The second and third rounds were held April 13-14 in Orlando, Florida.
 
For the challenge, students were provided with a case that describes a business and identifies issues the business owners are having with their current agent. In the first round of the competition, students met with the business owners to learn more about their issues. In the second and third rounds, students met in teams with the owners again to try to “close the deal” by outlining how they can better serve the owners’ needs.
 
In addition to winning a cash prize and sharpening their insurance, critical thinking, presentation and professional sales skills, the students were mentored by industry professionals.
 
Lewandowski, who has already secured a full-time position in the industry, made note of the valuable experience.
 
“We were able to connect with professionals from every aspect of the industry,” she said. “It was so encouraging to see that they were willing to invest in us because they know that the future of the industry is dependent on the success of young talent.”
 
Participation in this competition is one of only a few opportunities Samford students have to become highly engaged in risk management and insurance (RM&I) before they graduate. The newest academic program in Samford’s Brock School of Business prepares students for high demand careers the industry provides. Through the newly established risk management and insurance concentration, student involvement opportunities and the use of the Alfa Risk Management and Insurance Lab, Samford business students stand out as they learn how to develop solutions for a wide array of ever-increasing risks. The concentration that can complement any business major, can also be paired with other business concentrations such as professional sales, to create a one-of-a-kind educational experience.
 
Petitfils has also secured a full-time position in the industry and praises Samford’s program and opportunities such as the competition for his preparation.
 
He said, “Participating in this competition really opened our eyes to the terminology of the insurance industry, in addition to what we’ve learned here at Samford. Even though Samford’s program is so young, the fact that we’re already competing with the top RM&I schools from across the country shows that our program has so much potential.”
 
Associate Professor Rusty Yerkes, coordinator of Samford’s new risk management and insurance program, said, “This was a great opportunity for our students preparing to go to work in the industry. Not only did they benefit from their own participation, but the professionals were able to see firsthand the high caliber of students entering their field.”
 
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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.