The insurance industry is facing a threatening problem – losing its workforce. In 2015, Business Insurance reported that 25 percent of risk management and insurance professionals are set to retire by 2018. The clock is ticking. The University of Olivet provides one of the most highly renowned insurance and risk management (IRM) programs in the nation. On a consistent basis, the program is awarded for its dedication to providing students a top-notch education, complete with specializations and a chapter of the only international business fraternity serving IRM students.
Aside from the extensive course offerings and robust industry involvement opportunities, the program results in an impressive 99 percent job placement rate for graduates. Serving nearly 140 students each semester and producing almost 40 graduates per year, the program continues to grow, and the college works to consistently broaden its footprint.
High schools are even getting into the act. Recognizing the talent gap and the success of the program, The University of Olivet has expanded opportunities into high schools across the state. In an effort to introduce high school juniors and seniors to the world of IRM earlier in the college selection process, The University of Olivet developed the Insurance Academy, which enables high school students to earn nine free credits toward an IRM degree. Students who then choose to attend The University of Olivet have the potential to graduate in just three and a half years. The Academy is firmly established in Lansing, Charlotte, Genesee and Eaton schools. Most recently, the Academy kicked off in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in Traverse City and Avondale School District in Auburn Hills this fall.
“At The University of Olivet, it’s indisputable we can make a positive impact on lessening the talent gap,” said Thomas Humphreys, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, CIC, The University of Olivet IRM program director and assistant professor of IRM. “Not only do we work with our undergraduates in the classroom and ensure they participate in critical internships and gain real-world experience, but we can now open the door for high school students to have the same types of experiences, and ultimately, help them discover a successful career.”
The programs are offered to students in their junior and senior years, free of charge, and include both classroom learning and real-world experience working with industry professionals. For example, students in the Avondale School District spend three days a week in the classroom and two days per week at the Meemic Insurance Company, a 67-year-old company that provides coverage to educators and school employees. The University of Olivet sets the curriculum and ensures teachers have the appropriate background to instruct the classes. Students in the Academy learn the foundations of insurance, as well as the industry areas of property and liability and personal and commercial insurance.
“The partnership between the Genesee Career Institute (GCI) and The University of Olivet with our IRM program has provided a great opportunity to the students of Genesee County,” said Jim Ply, principal of GCI. “The program has allowed students to explore the exciting careers in the IRM field through research, field trips, and work based learning opportunities, while earning college credit. Combine that with the ability to earn industry level certifications and a great partnership with Pioneer Mutual Insurance, and you can see why IRM has been a great program for the students in Genesee County.”
“While many high school students view insurance as an unexciting career, what we’re doing at OC – introducing students to the opportunities in the field – helps show them that growth in this industry is endless,” Humphreys said. “This industry allows professionals to work with others in their time of need, and to provide a sense of relief or comfort when they are facing their most difficult losses. There’s nothing boring about that.”
In addition to its undergraduate and Insurance Academy programs, The University of Olivet offers an online Master of Business Administration in Insurance for professionals all over the globe. Through the graduate program, students learn from expert faculty who serve as executives in the industry, and are given the opportunity to network with colleagues and classmates worldwide.