This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Michigan Agent Magazine, a Michigan Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) publication, by Ann Kammerer, a freelance writer living in East Lansing, Michigan. She has written extensively about business people, educators, artists and everyday citizens doing good things. Reno Sims will graduate from The University of Olivet in August of 2017 with a degree in insurance and risk management.
Did you attend a high school insurance risk program?
I grew up the first half of my life in Detroit, and then moved to Tempe, Arizona. I earned my diploma from an online high school in 2010. Shortly afterward, I became the first person in my family to go to college by attending South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.
How did you arrive at the decision to study insurance in college?
My goal was always to graduate from a four-year college, so in 2014, I was offered an athletic scholarship to Olivet where I joined the The University of Olivet Men’s Boxing team. I started out as an exercise science major pursuing physical therapy, but after settling in, I met new friends who were incredibly motivated by the opportunities offered through Olivet’s Insurance and Risk Management Program. I was impressed by their enthusiasm, so I started asking more questions. I transferred into the program after my first semester, and am finishing up my bachelor’s in insurance and risk management.
What inspires you about insurance?
There is so much room to grow personally and professionally in insurance. Before I began majoring in insurance, I didn’t realize the industry was so vast, affects so many facets of our economy, and has such a wealth of rewarding jobs. It’s a great industry with enormous opportunity to advance and be well compensated. More than anything, you get to help people. When the unthinkable happens, you’re the one who walks in to comfort people, and who helps bring them back to pre-loss conditions during their time of need.
Have you had an internship yet?
I will be finishing my coursework this spring, and have an internship this summer with Nationwide at their corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. I will be focused on commercial lines underwriting, and am excited to learn and gain as much experience as I can.
Where do you see yourself going in the insurance industry?
I would like to work in the area of excess and surplus line brokering. I also have a dream of someday owning my own agency.
What has been one of your best experiences in the Insurance and Risk Management program at Olivet?
There have been so many things that I’ve liked – from learning business etiquette to building interpersonal relationships to the social aspects of the program itself. We’ve traveled all over the country to visit companies, and we’ve gone to a lot of networking events, conferences and conventions. One of the biggest highlights was the PriSim Agency Management Competition this spring. We competed with top insurance and risk management programs across the nation and brought home first prize.
What kind of volunteer experiences have you had at Olivet?
We do a lot of fundraising and donation activities to support community members in need, as well as seasonal events like toy collections. One activity I’ll always remember is going to a retirement home to do arts and crafts and visit with the residents. It’s such a good feeling when you can help make someone’s day
The Michigan Association of Insurance Agents serves to connect insurance professionals across the state. Read industry-related news, find information on classes to pursue designations, or learn more about becoming a member on the MAIA Information Exchange website.