Just when I was thinking that the future of the insurance industry was dim, my eyes were opened. Last week, eight teams of undergraduate business and insurance students – members of their local chapters of Gamma Iota Sigma, the Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Collegiate Fraternity – competed in the second annual Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Risk and Insurance Challenge sponsored by the Spencer Educational Foundation. Recognizing that the missions of these organizations play a key role in the future of this industry, RCM&D has supported the Risk and Insurance Studies Center for several years as a sponsor of the RISC Trends Conference held in conjunction with this event. I am proud to serve on the Advisory Board and as a judge, and Erin Walters, our Executive Risk Practice Leader, serves on the Program Committee.
For the Challenge, teams from across the country were tasked with pitching risk management consulting services to the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for Richmond 2015, host of the UCI Road World Cycling Championships. While not exactly the Olympic Games, this is a pretty big deal for the Richmond metropolitan area. The World Championships will attract an estimated 450,000 spectators,1500 cyclists, and a TV audience of 300 million. As these students quickly discovered, an event of this magnitude carries its fair share of challenges, risks and exposures.
During the first round, each student team submitted a written proposal addressing risk identification, prioritization, transfer and control. Next, the students made an oral presentation to a panel of judges, including yours truly. The top three teams then were selected and presented to an audience of about 200 professionals. The poise and professionalism of these teams, comprised of mostly 20 to 22-year-olds, was extraordinary. These kids knew the material, had rehearsed their presentations (including introductions and hand-offs), and effectively responded to tough questions from industry veterans. With teams from Ball State, Illinois State, Old Dominion, St. John’s, Temple, Alabama, UGA, and VCU, the competition was impressive.
And, the top three finishers were…
2. Illinois State
3. VCU (last year’s winner and hometown favorite)
A bright future awaits these hardworking, poised and promising students.
I am encouraged!
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