Mar 21 • 5 min read
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The Fox School of Business places a strong emphasis on professional development and business communication. Recently, two teams of actuarial science majors have proven that building these skills paid off by winning two different business competitions. 

On March 4, a team of six actuarial science students competed and won first place in the 14th Annual Travelers Actuarial Case Competition. This competition brings together students to tackle emerging current business issues facing the insurance industry. The Class of 2024 members who competed on the Traveler’s 2022 team included Adam Keylin, Aidan Crossland, Andrew Kim, Logan Hartney, Mark Tepedino and Raven Gaeta. 

Jeffrey Zheng, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Risk, Actuarial Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the school’s actuarial science program, assisted the team in the competition. Zheng emphasized how proud he was of the team for their smooth transitions and presentation.

“It was a very challenging large account pricing case involving auto liability, general liability, workers compensation and cyber liability risks,” says Zheng. “What set Temple apart was the clear advantage in communication skills and presentations, so our emphasis on professional development and business communication is certainly a great asset.”

Team members Mark Tepedino and Andrew Kim mentioned how they were excited to be chosen to compete at this competition by their professors because it is a testament to their hard work and performance in class. 

“This competition was great because we were able to collaborate as a team and really see a day in the life of an actuarial scientist,” says Tepedino. “Our team put great emphasis on communication and teamwork, which we now know will definitely go a long way in our future workplaces.”

Both Tepedino and Kim attribute their success to classes at the Fox School that helped them prepare for such a complex case and translate it to a panel of judges. 

“The Business Communications course helped several members of the team in the presentation factor of the competition because we knew how to properly communicate our project,” says Kim. “Our peer reviewer was also a Temple alumnus and had taken this course. When he saw us present, he stated how he recognized how we used the tactics they learned from that specific class.”

Fox School’s actuarial science team wins first place in the CICA Conference

Additionally, the Fox School’s actuarial science student team won the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) Essay Contest.

Students Matia Daskalos and Vincent Palmieri, both of the Class of 2022, took home first place in the CICA conference in Tuscan, Ariz., in March. They were mentored by Professor Mike Zuckerman, a leader in actuarial science and captive insurance.

Zuckerman traveled with Matia and Vincent for the reception. He offers his congratulations and highlights the Temple Team in his LinkedIn post here: “Congratulations to our Fox School of Business at Temple University students, Matia Daskalos and Vincent Palmieri for winning first place in the 2022 Captive Insurance Companies Association student essay contest. Thank you to Strategic Risk Solutions for sponsoring the essay contest. Go Owls!”

Each year, the CICA brings together prominent captive professionals from around the world to explore new uses of captives, engage new talent in the industry, and outline best practices during the CICA International Conference. Captives are insurance companies within an organization whose purpose is to protect its owners from risks.

The competition allowed both Daskalos and Palmieri to try something new in a field they were not originally familiar with. They both thought this would be a great opportunity to expand on their skillsets prior to graduation.

“We came together as a team to figure out best practices for people who grow, sell or transport cannabis through a self-run industry,” says Palmieri. “Through our case, we described a laid out structure, as well as the gaps and challenges these businesses face.”

Not only were they able to acquire more insight through their research, but the competition allowed them to gain more industry knowledge and experience. Their findings lead them to better understand the importance of captives.

“Captives are a great tool for risk and it is important that we bring it into the professional world as businesses try to improve their models,” says Daskalos. “Captives are currently an underutilized tool, despite the fact that they are a great tool for managing risk. Within our solution, we talked about creating a captive as a way to self-insure because it lowers risk in general.”

Both Daskalos and Palmieri mentioned how they enjoyed researching this case, as well as being able to write a paper.

“Fox has prepared us by teaching us the basics of writing a good paper and presentation skills,” says Palmieri. “The Student Professional Organization (SPO) we are both members of, Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), also helped give us a better understanding of the actuarial science industry as a whole through listening to several guest lectures.”

Through both of these competitions, the students were presented with real-life scenarios that will help set them up for success in the workforce.

“The actuarial science program here at Temple stands out from some other universities because it is in our business school,” says Zheng. “This allows our students to become more well-rounded when they enter the career world. They will not only learn the math skills needed to be an actuarial scientist but they will also be taught business and communication tactics which have been reflected in their recent achievements.”

Actuarial ScienceAnnual Travelers Actuarial Case CompetitionCaptive Insurance Company AssociationCICACICA International ConferenceUndergraduate