The Rewards of Studying Risk
An annual visit to London made possible by Surplus Lines Association of Colorado provides students unique insight into the insurance industryMar 10, 2023
CU Denver’s RMI Program started in 2011 with generous support from industry partners. This program educates students with academic and practical knowledge on mitigating loss and managing risk across a variety of industries. CU Denver’s is the only graduate and undergraduate RMI program in the Mountain West. In 2018, Business Insurance Magazine recognized the program as a Top 20 RMI undergraduate program and the 5th largest RMI graduate program in the country.
A Partner Since the BeginningSurplus lines insurance provides coverage for endeavors that traditional insurance companies don’t cover because of the unique risks involved. This can prove especially essential for encouraging innovation, and Surplus Lines Association of Colorado (SLA Colorado), which was founded in 1982 as a non-profit organization, promotes best practices within this industry.
The relationship between RMI and SLA Colorado runs deep. SLA Colorado has engaged with and provided funding for the program since its inception to encourage young graduates to join the industry. SLA Colorado’s board members also engage by mentoring students, serving on RMI’s Advisory Council, participating in networking events, providing internships for students, and teaching classes. Dick Thomas, a SLA Colorado board member, is an original founding member of RMI’s Advisory Council and continues to serve alongside SLA Colorado Board of Directors President Troy Sibelius, who joined the council in 2020. Their continued service has been integral to RMI’s current success.
SLA Colorado also supported the creation of the Global Risk Management class, which includes the annual trip to London for 16-18 students. SLA Executive Director, John Wethey, co-teaches the course and accompanies students on their international journey to serve as a mentor. This opportunity allows students to visit insurance companies, brokers, and other risk management corporations, network with industry leaders, and benefit from a look into the daily operations of the industry. “Students who participate in this class and trip gain a better understanding of how the insurance industry encourages innovation by responding to emerging risks,” says Wethey. “During our visit to London we have the opportunity to meet with underwriters and brokers, including Lloyd’s Underwriters, who are involved in insuring some of the world’s most high-risk endeavors.”
An Eye-Opening ExperienceStudents return from the trip with a vested interest in pursuing a career in Risk Management and Insurance along with the confidence to interact with high-level executives, the ability to comprehend and articulate the scope of global risk insurance, and the preparation needed to step into a risk manager’s role. “Visiting Lloyd’s Syndicate and some of the major global insurance carriers and brokers in London greatly influenced the course of my career by providing me with a clearer understanding of what the Excess and Surplus (E&S) insurance industry consists of, what types of risks are insured in the E&S market, and how vital the E&S market is to global economics,” says Tanner Calhoun, a student who participated on the trip.
To date, 54% of students who took the course have pursued careers on the E&S side of the industry, including graduate students who were already in the workforce in other roles. "I thought a career in insurance would be boring, but the Global Risk Management trip really opened my eyes to how exciting and lucrative a career in E&S could be," says Alex Krcmarik, another former student who is now a Senior Broker at Burns & Wilcox. Employers note that the students who complete CU Denver’s Global Risk Management course are productive new employees who require less training than new hires without this experience.
Surplus Lines Association of Colorado’s continued, generous commitment to the RMI program demonstrates the power of philanthropic support and corporate partnerships in helping students achieve their career goals while helping CU Denver educate new generations of skilled professionals.