In order to stay proactive rather than reactive to 21st century business risks, industries as diverse and exciting as cannabis, cyber security, finance and healthcare use enterprise risk management (ERM). Last year, emerging technology and new management disciplines were explored as the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management hosted its first-ever ERM Conference at the Fox School of Business. A grant from the Spencer Educational Foundation made the event possible for over 80 attendees. Industry experts at the conference discussed recent discoveries, longer-term trends and shared their best practices along with pitfalls to avoid.

Michael Zuckerman, Temple University, Associate Professor and Academic Director for Enterprise Risk Management
Michael Zuckerman, Temple University, Associate Professor and Academic Director for Enterprise Risk Management

“Risk can surface in multiple forms—cybersecurity, supply chain, climate change, human capital, data analytics and beyond,” said M. Michael Zuckerman, Temple University, Associate Professor and Academic Director for Enterprise Risk Management, and one of the conference’s organizers.

Steven Schain, Senior Counsel at Hoban Law Group who works primarily with banks, shared insights from within the cannabis industry during his presentation. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. legal marijuana sales in 2018 were estimated at $10.2 billion. And while cannabis is a lucrative industry, less than .03% of banks are willing to serve marijuana related businesses (MRB). Since federal restrictions make it difficult for MRBs to make financial transactions, challenges abound. MRBs often conduct businesses without bank accounts, and must use cash for crucial functions like employee payroll, rent, taxes and paying vendors. Robbery and assault are also considered higher-risk in this field due to the extraordinary levels of cash.

“Insurance only covers up to $20,000 cash loss, and since many MRBs have $200,000 to $500,000 on hand, theft can be fatal,” says Schain.

Carol Fox, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), presented on cybersecurity. Although estimates vary, loss due to cybersecurity breaches is in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year. A 2016 report by Cybersecurity Ventures stated that cybercrime will cost more than $6 trillion worldwide by 2019.

“A disturbing percentage of risk professionals are unaware of disruptive technology prevalence,” she warns.

As a discipline, ERM has the ability to transcend any single industry. Kelly Botti, senior vice president, chief risk officer and corporate counsel at TruMark Financial Credit Union, shared her journey in guiding the TruMark Financial executive team to understand and value risk strategy.

“At its core, Enterprise Risk Management promotes two essential business concepts: informed decision-making and authentic conversation,” says Botti. “Its greatest value is the ability to spark curiosity. In approaching ERM from this angle, executive teams gain insight, as opposed to information, which aid in the development of corporate vision and strategy.”

Planning is already underway for the second annual conference in May 2019, hosted again by the Fox School, with no shortage of fascinating topics on the horizon.

“The opportunity ahead is to harness Big Data,” says Ian Waxman, Principal at Navigate. “How do we use it,? How can we do a better job of getting ahead of risk and being quicker in responding to it?”

For more information about the Fox School of Business and the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, click here.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Most public officials want to stay in office—and insurance regulators are no different. In the days, weeks, and months leading up to the elections, many assume that public officials would be proactive, striving to implement policies that improve their credibility and increase their chances of reelection. However, recent studies by Martin Grace, Harry Cochran Professor of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management at the Fox School and Tyler Leverty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, say that this is not the case for insurance regulators.

The financial health of the insurance companies is closely monitored by the state insurance departments to provide protection to the policyholders. When a company faces a financial crisis, the regulators intervene and help them regain their footing. In situations where the company is irreversibly dying, they are declared insolvent, or bankrupt.

To keep these stages in check, insurance regulators conduct regular financial examinations, especially for companies facing financial crisis. In their paper, ”Do Elections Delay Regulatory Action?” which was accepted by the Journal of Financial Economics, Grace found that these interventions on failing companies fall by up to 78% in the year leading up to an election. These delays result in an increased cost of failure for both policyholders and taxpayers.

Graph 1: Electoral Cycle vs the Regulatory Interventions

The reason for this seems to be rooted in the political incentives for the insurance regulators. Insurance commissioners are elected by popular vote in some states or appointed by the governor in the others. To have a positive opinion around their candidateship, insurance commissioners avoid making formal regulatory orders or making declarations of insolvency for insurance companies up to a year before the elections. “As this could raise questions on their competency and could be seen as a black mark when they run for higher office,” says Grace, “it is easier for insurance regulators to delay companies’ bankruptcies. So they strategically postpone any official resolution until after election day.”

And, Grace says, “The more competitive the race is, the more bad news might matter.” While appointed commissioners tend to delay interventions only before tightly contested elections where the appointing governor is running for office, elected regulators delay interventions before all elections.

To conduct this study, the researchers collected data from approximately 3,200 firms and 300 separate elections in 50 states over 21 years (1989-2011). With varying election dates and state-regulated insurance policies, Grace says, “these heterogeneities gave us a very rich data to study a given insurer at different intervals of time, across different states, and at various stages of the electoral cycle.”

With so much data and possible causations, it took the researchers about eight years to publish the paper. During various presentations of the research, Grace recollects offering a dollar to anyone who could come up with a plausible explanation to the observation that they hadn’t heard of before. ”We covered it all,” Grace says. “But if someone came up with a new idea, I would give them a dollar.”  However, given their extensive data set and time, Grace and his co-author were confident in their findings that elections were the main cause of these delays.

Grace emphasizes that these delays are important because they cost taxpayers more money. When an insurance company goes bankrupt and they run out of cash to pay off their debts, the balance is covered by the government from the pool of state taxes collected from policyholders of the healthy insurers. For example, he reasons, “Let’s say we have a $100 left in the failed insurer. If we closed the insurer immediately, the value would remain $100.” However, if the insurer is closed in 6 months, there would be more costs associated, like paying employees and managers of the failed insurer. “That means all taxpayers will have to pick up the balance.” Grace’s research found that delays increased the cost to taxpayers by up to $0.48 dollars for every dollar of failed insurers assets at the time of insolvency.

Research shows that prompt governance reduces the delays caused due to elections. “This was seen to be especially true in the case of appointed regulators,” says Grace. Current laws mandate regulators to report and take timely corrective actions at prescribed levels of declining capital of the insurers, limiting the regulators’ ability to delay.

The effect of delays in regulating insurance companies has a discreet yet profound effect on the cost of insurance to society. Timely settlement of claims, especially when the insurance company is in a financial crisis, helps decrease the cost of failure to both the policyholders and taxpayers.

Learn more about Fox School Research.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School
on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Risk is present everywhere, and it can threaten the operations of any organization, large or small. But how is it being managed … if at all?

“That’s a critically important question that leaders everywhere need to be asking themselves,” said M. Michael Zuckerman, an associate professor of risk, insurance, and healthcare management at Temple University.

Temple’s Fox School of Business welcomes industry leaders, educators, practitioners, and students to the 2018 Enterprise Risk Management Conference: Principles for ERM Innovation, on May 15. The conference will focus on the future of enterprise risk management, a method through which organizations can mitigate threats while also capitalizing on opportunities that support their primary objectives.

“Today, we’re seeing that risk can surface in multiple forms: cybersecurity, supply chain, climate change, human capital, data analytics, and beyond,” said Zuckerman, one of the conference’s organizers. “One goal of this conference is to help any organization—large or small, profit or non-profit, public or private—in addressing these risks, either through the launch of its enterprise risk management program or to proliferate its existing program.”

The Fox School of Business arranged an all-day agenda of leading practitioners and educators, including:

  • Carol Fox: Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • John Littig: Chief Finance and Underwriting Officer of The Risk Authority, Stanford University Health System
  • Kelly Botti, Esq.: Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Counsel, Trumark Financial Credit Union
  • Michelle Histand: Director of Innovation, Independence Blue Cross
  • Andrew Tait: P.E., Senior Consultant and Practice Leader, Core Risks Ltd., A JLT Specialty USA Company

Visit the Fox School’s website for more on the conference, organized with support from management consulting firm Navigate as well as the Spencer Educational Foundation.

Media requests: Please send requests to Christopher A. Vito, associate director of communications & media relations, Temple University’s Fox School of Business, at cvito@temple.edu

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, andInstagram.

Figuring out how to engage young professionals is a popular topic for employers today. Last month, the Fox School’s Fox Management Consulting (Fox MC) spoke with Eugenie George, an expert on the issue who offered tips for companies seeking to reduce turnover of their young professional workforce. This week, George zooms in on the role managers can play. Here are a few ways to improve loyalty and growth in younger employees.

1) To Help Others, First Help Yourself

While young professionals are often famously profiled as needing a lot of feedback, sometimes the managers who oversee them aren’t soliciting quite enough. “If you are a manager, get a coach,” says George. “If you are over other people, get someone to actually help you become a better leader. That is essential.” George points out that this is just airplane safety 101: Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.

Many companies are taking the hint and hiring in-house coaches to help develop their supervisors, but even in companies that haven’t taken this step, managers can seek out mentors. “Find someone in your company that is not in your field to give you feedback,” advises George, “and do your own reflections. Ask yourself: How am I? What personality type am I? What do I need to be an effective leader?” Even a virtual coach, in the form of a leadership book or management blog can be a significant first step in becoming a more effective leader.

Many celebrities and leaders like Oprah and Bill Clinton talk openly about the importance of their life coach. Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt says being told to get a life coach was “the best advice I ever got.” No matter their career stage, getting outside input can help managers become better leaders of their young professional workforce.

2) Make Training Interactive

Last spring, George engaged a Fox MC student consulting team to support her consulting business, The Quarter Design. Among other research insights, the team learned that virtual trainings have become a non-starter for employee development. “Everywhere you go, people are offering webinars and modules,” says George. “HR managers said they don’t want anything that has to do with online.”

While it can be tempting for busy managers to send a link to a struggling employee, or request they sign up for a webinar, these courses overlook a central component of the development many employees need. “A big part of my job as a consultant is teaching soft skills,” says George. Managers working with young professionals should plan interactive training and encourage employees to seek learning opportunities that engage interpersonal skills.

3) Leave Time for Personal Development

The cornerstone of how most companies measure work is hours on the clock. While that metric has its place, many companies now recognize that maximizing employee performance sometimes means allowing them to work less.

George says a good friend who worked at Google benefited from their famous practice of giving employees time during the workweek to pursue their personal interests. “She went on yoga retreats with that time,” George says. “She now leads meditation retreats with people at Google, and it’s very gratifying.”

While not every company can afford to sponsor yoga retreats, managers play an important role in creating space for personal time. Managing workflows, offering flexibility in work hours, and prioritizing employee requests for time off communicates that personal development is a priority. This allows employees time to do the personal work necessary to produce high-quality outputs. While not every company can be Google, managers can benefit from borrowing a page from their book.

Every year, Fox MC completes multiple high-value strategy consulting projects with clients like Eugenie George. To access in-depth research, multi-disciplinary teams, and actionable solutions for your business or non-profit, connect with us today.
For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Dr. Randy Dumm, right, Research Professor within the Fox School’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management department, accepts the school’s designation as a Global Center of Insurance Excellence (GCIE) at the International Insurance Society (IIS) Global Insurance Forum in London. At left is IIS President and CEO Mike Morrissey.

Temple University’s Fox School of Business has been recognized as one of the inaugural awardees of the International Insurance Society’s Global Centers of Insurance Excellence (GCIE) designation.

The Fox School became one of the first recipients of this distinguished honor at the IIS Global Insurance Forum, held July 17-20 in London. Research professor Dr. Randy Dumm attended the forum and the conferring of this distinction on behalf of Fox’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management.

Founded in 1965, the IIS is considered the world’s largest and most-prestigious insurance industry organization. It aims to drive industry growth by bridging insurance executives, academics, and policymakers from nearly 100 countries.

The GCIE certification program, formed this year by the IIS, recognizes only 20 universities worldwide as leading providers of risk management and insurance education, and serves to enhance their connections and reputations with the insurance industry.

Universities awarded the GCIE designation must meet or exceed criteria related to course offerings; graduate and industry employment rates; and professional involvement. Additionally, a university must demonstrate that its students are exposed to designated full-time faculty with appropriate qualifications and research expertise. GCIE designation is retained for five years and thereafter extended upon renewal.

“It is incredibly humbling to learn that the Fox School’s Risk Management and Insurance program has been chosen as one of the first colleges and universities worldwide to receive this coveted distinction,” said Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Risk Management and Insurance undergraduate program at the Fox School of Business among the top-10 programs nationally each of the last 10 years. The program dates to 1914, making it the nation’s oldest, continuously running program of its kind. Additionally, with more than 475 students, it is one of the United States’ largest-such programs.

The program is also home to the Sigma Chapter, the largest chapter of the international professional fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma. Fox’s Sigma Chapter has earned the Edison L. Bowers Award as best overall chapter in 18 of the last 24 years.

Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, and Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business, listen to one of the speakers at the 28th annual Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Awards for Excellence.
Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, and Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business, listen to one of the speakers at the 28th annual Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Awards for Excellence.
Hundreds filled the two-tiered Grand Ballroom at Philadelphia’s Hyatt at the Bellevue for the Fox School of Business’ 28th Annual Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Awards for Excellence Dinner.

The gala, held April 13, helped pay tribute to the department’s current successes, as well as its rich tradition and rising national rank.

Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, honored a team of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Science students who, a weekend prior, had taken first place in the prestigious Spencer-RIMS national Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study of a risk portfolio, for which the students were tasked with developing proposed solutions.

The night also centered on growth in the program. Not only is the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma the nation’s largest chapter, but the Fox School also serves as the largest provider of Risk Management & Insurance education in the United States, according to a recent survey.

Top industry executives have taken notice of our programs and that is a testament to the quality of our students,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “I think you will all agree that we have succeeded on all accounts – more students, more speakers, better rankings, and more success.”

Porat helped found the department’s annual awards reception 28 years ago, when he served as the department’s chair. It began, Porat said, as a small luncheon held at Temple’s Mitten Hall.

And today, because of the many successes of our Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management students, smaller venues are not feasible for such an occasion,” Porat said.

The Grand Ballroom at Philadelphia’s Hyatt at the Bellevue served as the venue for the 28th annual Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Awards for Excellence.
The Grand Ballroom at Philadelphia’s Hyatt at the Bellevue served as the venue for the 28th annual Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Awards for Excellence.
Richard Rosenbaum, senior Actuarial Science major and President of the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, lauded Drennan for facilitating the department’s growth and continually improving its reputation nationally and internationally. For the third consecutive year, Fox’s RMI program ranked among the nation’s top-5 such programs in the United States.

He not only has shown us the vast opportunities available in risk management, but also has helped us with navigating difficult educational and professional decisions in our first years at Temple,” Rosenbaum said of Drennan, who presides over the longest-running continuous program of its kind in the U.S.

Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, delivers remarks at the department’s 28th annual Awards for Excellence.
Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, delivers remarks at the department’s 28th annual Awards for Excellence.
The event’s keynote speaker, Thomas F. Motamed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for CNA Financial Corporation, discussed his foray into the RMI industry, its future, and the role Fox School of Business students can play in it. Motamed addressed the ever-increasing need for talent in the RMI profession as one of the most significant challenges facing the industry today. Due to retiring professionals, he said the industry needs to fill 400,000 positions by 2020 in order to remain fully staffed.

So if you are a student of risk management at Temple, you must be aware that you are truly coveted,” Motamed said. “You are the human capital of the future.”

The winning team from Temple University’s Fox School of Business featured Carolyn Murset, Andrew Donchez, Sean Preis, and Zilong Zhao. They are joined by Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department.
The winning team from Temple University’s Fox School of Business featured Carolyn Murset, Andrew Donchez, Sean Preis, and Zilong Zhao. They are joined by Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of Fox’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department.

A team of students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business put together the pieces to win a national case competition.

The students won the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge, a three-month case study from a major company – iconic toymaker, LEGO. The competition culminated with eight teams delivering presentations during the RIMS 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition, held April 10-14 in San Diego, Calif.

The win marked the third in five years for students from the Fox School’s nationally ranked Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department. Senior Actuarial Science majors Carolyn Murset and Zilong Zhao, and Risk Management and Insurance majors Andrew Donchez and Sean Preis, a senior and a junior, respectively, comprised the winning team, which received $4,000 in prize earnings.

The Fox School students bested Florida State University and Butler University, which placed second and third, respectively.

The Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge tasks undergraduates from around the country with developing a comprehensive, written risk analysis that will be judged by a panel of experts at the annual risk management society’s conference.

“Temple’s Risk Management and Insurance program has helped us to hone our analytical and critical-thinking skills, and adequately prepared us to identify the main risks facing LEGO,” Donchez said. “Meeting LEGO’s strategic risk manager and picking his brain taught us that risk management is a real-world issue that demands passionate, curious and persistent practitioners.”

“This competition reinforces that the risk management profession’s future is bright,” said RIMS CEO Mary Roth. “The Rising Risk Professional demographic of RIMS members continues to grow and their contributions and professional needs have directly influenced the resources and opportunities the Society delivers. We are so proud to be able to introduce these students to the energy and excitement of a RIMS Annual Conference and congratulate all of them for participating in the challenge.”

In November, the Fox School team had learned that it had advanced in the competition. From there, the students spent months poring over research material to craft the perfect plan for reducing risk for a company that, despite its storied history and global appeal, came close in recent years to filing for bankruptcy. Judges gauged how well Fox’s students analyzed LEGO’s risks, and presented their research findings.

“Winning the competition is an extraordinary closing on the last chapter of my Temple journey,” Zhao said. “It signifies the high caliber of future business leaders Fox School has nurtured.”

The RIMS 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition provides students opportunities to engage with sponsors and industry leaders, network with their peers, sit in on guest lectures, tour San Diego’s best attractions, and perform community service.

“Traveling to the RIMS Conference is an amazing experience for any student in RMI,” said Dr. R.B. Drennan, Chair of the Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department. “The number of industry professionals our students met is overwhelming. I believe they received a very good idea of the field in which they are entering.

“Further, I couldn’t have been more proud of their achievements and extending Fox’s rich tradition in winning the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge.”

OWLympiad_1The Fox School of Business will welcome nearly 250 juniors from Philadelphia-area high schools to Temple University for the 7th annual OWLympiad math competition, to be held May 9 at the Howard Gittis Student Center.

Free to attend, OWLympiad offers cash prizes for 11th-graders who are exploring career possibilities in the actuarial science field. Actuaries leverage high-level numerical skills to assume positions in insurance, consulting, investment banking, government organizations, and more.

“This event creates awareness that actuarial science is an appealing career path for someone who loves math, and it’s a great way for local math-minded students to connect with one another,” said OWLympiad coordinator Dr. Krupa Viswanathan, an Associate Professor and Director of the Fox School’s Actuarial Science program.

OWLympiad will challenge teams of four students to demonstrate their knowledge in a range of math-related subjects, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The competition, which begins at 9 a.m., will consist of a multiple-choice exam, a “24” math cardgame competition, and a Quizzo-style lightning round. The team that accrues the most points will be awarded $400. All participating students will receive a customized T-shirt, lunch, and other items provided by the event’s sponsors.

OWLympiad_2The Fox School’s Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department, as well as the Sigma Chapter of international professional fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma, will host the competition. Travelers Insurance Company and the Casualty Actuarial Society are the event’s sponsors.

Temple University offers one of the most-distinguished Actuarial Science programs in North America, and has been recognized by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) – one of only 30 institutions to receive this honor. The Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management department has offered engagement opportunities for local high school students for the past 15 years, including OWLympiad.

Email Timothy Ellis (timothy.ellis@temple.edu) or Viswanathan (krupa@temple.edu) for more information about OWLympiad.

Exterior photo of Alter HallThe Fox School of Business at Temple University will introduce new academic programs for the 2016-17 academic year.

A Bachelor of Science program in Statistical Science and Data Analytics headlines the new offerings by the Fox School, and joins two undergraduate minors in Leadership and International Business Administration.

At the graduate level, students can elect for MBA concentrations in either Business Analytics or Enterprise Risk Management. In Fall 2016, Fox also will launch a Master of Science degree program in Business Analytics.

“The addition of new programs and concentrations demonstrate our reputation as one of the nation’s most-comprehensive business schools,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “Employers and industry partners agree that these areas represent emerging fields and areas of study wherein professionals and leaders are in great demand, and we have the diverse, renowned faculty to answer the call of industry and these support programs.”

The undergraduate major in Statistical Science and Data Analysis will provide students with the ability to select, utilize and apply quantitative reasoning and data analytic skills to their future fields of study, according to program director Dr. Alexandra Carides, Associate Professor of Statistical Science.

The minor in International Business Administration incorporates the nationally ranked curriculum of Fox’s undergraduate-degree program in International Business. The minor requires only four courses and four prerequisites, delivering the cornerstones of international business education while offering students the opportunity to complete a study-abroad trip in the process.

The minor in Leadership cultivates stronger interpersonal skills for effective management and leadership positions. With courses focusing on workplace demands for leadership from both the organizational and interpersonal points of view, the minor allows students to move beyond technical competence as they step into leadership roles in industry.

The MBA concentration in Business Analytics is designed to enable graduate students to use data and models to recognize opportunities and to improve organizational decision-making. “Data-driven decision-making has been shown to have large positive effects on outcomes of interest to organizations of all types,” said Assistant Professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management Dr. Eric Eisenstein, the concentration’s director. “Business Analytics concentrators will meet the growing demand for talent in the areas of managing, analyzing, predicting, and discovering insights from the complex data that is available to modern corporations.”

The MBA concentration in Enterprise Risk Management, offered by one of the most-prestigious Risk Management programs in the nation, will prepare MBA students to design and implement state-of-the-art processes that enhance and improve organizational strategic decision-making, how it manages risk across the enterprise, as well as improving traditional risk mitigation decisions. “This concentration will provide MBA candidates with the concepts and tools to develop advanced organizational risk management capabilities and pursue executive responsibility for managing enterprise-wide risks,” said Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management Dr. M. Michael Zuckerman, the concentration’s director.

All eligibility and declaration questions regarding the new undergraduate major and minors should be referred to Fox’s Center for Undergraduate Advising. Graduate students are encouraged to speak with their program advisors for more details about new curricula.

Molly Belmont
Molly Belmont

Molly Belmont, a Risk Management and Insurance student from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, has been selected as the winner of the 2016 American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) Student White Paper Research Contest.

A junior, Belmont won the AAMGA competition’s Technology and Wholesaler category for her paper, “Internet of Things Insurance, Opportunities, and Threats.”

In her paper, Belmont focused on three distinct areas – the connected home, the connected car, and the connected self – and discussed benefits and potential flaws in the collection of data through the Internet of Things IoT.

“While these devices can help insurance companies price better premiums and lower risk, and can also better educate the consumer and help them identify exactly what they’re paying for, there is a cyber risk involved with these devices that most companies didn’t necessarily consider,” said Belmont, a native of Malvern, Pa. “These systems can be hacked and create unforeseen dangers.”

Belmont said the paper was the culmination of more than one month’s work, during which time she utilized more than 20 sources. She said it was the first writing competition in which she’s taken the top prize. Belmont credited Fox School Assistant Professor Storm Wilkins with the encouragement to enter the competition.

For her winning entry, Belmont will receive a scholarship totaling $1,000; an all-expenses-paid trip and registration for the 90th AAMGA Annual Meeting, to be held May 22-25 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.; an opportunity to shadow an AAMGA member during his or her meetings at the conference; and publication of her paper in the May issue of Wholesale Insurance News magazine, which is distributed to more than 1.4 million insurance professionals in more than 40 countries globally.

“I’ve been looking into the schedule of events and the networking opportunities available at the conference,” said Belmont, who this summer will serve as a benefits intern in the Philadelphia office of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. “I wasn’t expecting to win, so it’s a big thrill.”

Read about the 2015 research contest winner, Hayley Leather.

Hayley LeatherIn 10 years, Hayley Leather would like to own a zoo.

With this professional aspiration in mind, the 22-year-old Fox School of Business student has focused her efforts on attaining the business expertise every zookeeper requires, while studying within Fox’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management department.

Leather’s research paper in a related area – into the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil spill that devastated animal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico – won the 2015 American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) White Paper contest.

Her essay, titled Why the BP Macondo Gulf Blowout is Important…and It’s Not What You Think, explores the complexities and uses of additional insured status and contractual indemnity in the oil industry, and the potential effects of restrictions. Leather synthesized legal precedent and interviewed experts in the field to uncover how unusual anti-indemnity strategies could change the face of risk contracting in the oil industry.

“This wasn’t anything that had been done before,” said Leather, a Risk Management and Insurance major. “Previously companies just did as they assumed, but BP really challenged all that.”

Winning essays were deemed to have communicated the significance of risk management in the future of wholesale, excess or surplus insurance lines in the manner of previous White Paper winners. Leather, one of two winners nationally, received $2,000 for her award-winning paper and an expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. in May 2015 to attend the AAMGA Annual Meeting. While there, a mentor from the risk industry will be paired with Leather.

“I’ll be able to hear what’s going on in the industry and have a contact to talk to the whole time to explain it to me,” Leather said.

Leather credits Storm Wilkins, Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management, with encouraging her to enter the contest. Wilkins also serves as faculty advisor for Temple’s Sigma Chapter of the risk management fraternity, Gamma Iota Sigma, of which Leather is a member. Leather, who had written previously on the BP crisis, knew that expanding upon the topic for the contest made sense, given her interest in animal welfare and risk management.

“Hayley researched the issues thoroughly, and even reached out to an industry expert to ensure that her work was first-rate,” Wilkins said. “I encourage my students to enter competitions such as the AAMGA White Paper contest because it allows them showcase their abilities beyond Temple University.”

Leather, who transferred into the Fox School in Summer 2014, said her brother, Jonathan, FOX ’09, pushed her into the Risk Management field. Previously, she had been a science major.

“I wasn’t happy with the idea of staring at a computer or microscope all day. I didn’t want to do that,” Leather said. “I love business in general and something that is important to all business is managing the risks.”

Merging her love of animals with her penchant for business, Leather has interned with the Navy Marine Mammals Program in San Diego. Somewhat closer to home, the native of Cheltenham, Pa., also has interned as a zookeeper at the Wild World of Animals in Eighty Four, Pa. Leather hopes to one day work for SeaWorld Entertainment, managing risks for one of the organization’s seven parks, before applying her business savvy when opening her own zoo.

Photo credit: Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma
Photo credit: Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma

Students from the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business strolled through the MBA Commons at Alter Hall, ready to greet the largest contingency of employers ever gathered at the annual RMI Intern Reception.

Looking confident and dressed in their finest business-professional attire, the students had hands to shake, resumes to distribute and a shared objective.

“All of our students want internships,” said Dr. R.B. Drennan, the Chair of Fox School’s Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management department. “Though we don’t require internships, so to speak, our students recognize the value in earning one. Internships are critical for professional development, earning industry experience and demonstrating their skills in an arena that might lead to a permanent position.”

The Fox School is home to the Sigma chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a professional international fraternity for RMI majors. The award-winning organization held its annual RMI Intern Reception, for which it hosted record-breaking numbers of students and employers. The sold-out event, held Feb. 12, featured more than 110 representatives from 45 companies and nearly 200 internship-seeking students.

To earn eligibility to attend the event, Drennan said RMI students must clear several professional development hurdles that include workshops, mock interviews and resume submissions.  The RMI Intern Reception has a strong tradition of excellence, he said. Fox’s RMI program, the oldest, continually running program in the United States, placed 180 students in summer internships in 2014.

“This is one of the premier RMI programs out there,” said Decker Youngman, Chief Recruitment Officer of Tampa-based Brown & Brown Insurance, which has had a Fox RMI intern each of the last five summers. “That’s why we make the trip and that’s why we’re here.”

Another employer, Sunny Cutler [Class of 2000] of human capital consulting firm Aon Hewitt, said RMI students blend “knowledge of industry with the necessary soft skills.”

“We can find bright students anywhere,” said Cutler, Aon’s Vice President of Health and Benefits consulting group. “This event provides a great recruitment opportunity where we can learn more about the student.”

Students attending the RMI Intern Reception each wore nametags for easy identification while meeting employers for the first time. Many confidently carried leather portfolios, which held copies of their resumes. Some strategically navigated the room with precision, opting to bypass long waits at the tables of some employers before returning when the crowd had thinned, their strategy allowing them to optimize the number of employers they met.

Shannon Nolan, a dual RMI and Accounting major at the Fox School, said preparedness for the event was paramount.

“To make the most of this experience, you have to take a look at the map to see the layout of where employers are located,” said Nolan, a native of Havertown, Pa., and the Director of RMI Career Development with Gamma Iota Sigma. “You take a look at what you’re wearing, whether you have your resume ready and then you introduce yourself confidently.

“And you always make sure to get their business card.”

To secure the registration of so many top-tier employers – “it’s a who’s-who of the insurance industry,” Drennan said – no cold-calling was required, according to Michael McGuire, Vice President of RMI Career Development for the Sigma chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma.

“Professors Drennan and (Michael) McCloskey foster such good relationships with the employers here, and from that, we have a reliable industry contact list that helps the process,” said McGuire, an RMI major from Lansdale, Pa. “It’s a point of pride and a point of relief to see this event go off so well. The people who came before me in this position left a legacy of success for the Intern Reception, and I’m glad we were able to keep the legacy going.”