New insurance program addresses job demand

Jobs in Ohio’s insurance industry are in high demand. Heidelberg alumnus Corey Frazer can attest to that.

“We are in the midst of a huge talent shift as baby boomers retire,” said Frazer, who graduated from Heidelberg in 2011 and now owns a State Farm Insurance agency in Lima, Ohio. “The Ohio insurance industry alone will need to fill more than 29,000 jobs by 2024. We have vacancies we simply can’t fill fast enough with qualified candidates.”

With that in mind, the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology has launched an Insurance and Risk Management program as another concentration within in the Business Administration major.

Heidelberg students who choose the Insurance and Risk Management concentration will gain an in-depth understanding and skills in risk assessment, control and transfer for individuals, families and commercial organizations.

“Students will develop a thorough knowledge of the different lines of insurance coverage available,” said Dr. Haseeb J. Ahmed, dean of the School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology and professor of finance. “They can also achieve significant progress toward industry-recognized certifications such as the Chartered Insurance Counselor and Certified Risk Manager of the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research.”

Alumni like Corey now working in the industry say they would have benefited from studying insurance and risk management during their undergraduate years. “I began my career with State Farm directly after graduating from Heidelberg. I know it would have been a huge advantage to be able to focus my study in this area.”

“I’m excited for Heidelberg students to take advantage of this program and to learn the value it has on our world and the opportunities that could be made available to them, whether working directly with an insurance company or internally for a Fortune 500 company, which my Heidelberg roommate is doing now.”

According to Kurt Loeffler CFA, ARM, CTP, who teaches finance, accounting and insurance and risk management, there’s a common misconception about the career opportunities within the industry. Many believe jobs are limited to insurance agent or sales, but that’s not the case.

“In reality, while agents and sales people are needed, the majority of opportunities involve positions such as claims adjusters and investigators, underwriters, actuaries, customer service representatives, IT specialists and other infrastructure positions,” said Loeffler, who had decades of industry experience in risk management.

The school has developed four new courses within the Insurance and Risk Management concentration: Introduction to Insurance and Risk Management; Personal Lines and Life/Health Insurance; Commercial Property Casualty Insurance; and Risk Management Principles & Practice.

So what sets Heidelberg’s Insurance and Risk Management program apart? Personal attention, in-class (not online) instruction, courses taught by faculty with Ph.D.s in finance, industry credentials and experience, and direct networking opportunities with guest lecturers who also share their industry experience.

“Industry collaboration with our professional education and liberal arts foundation will give our students a competitive edge,” Ahmed said.

Already, Heidelberg has partnered with industry professionals and alumni, who have presented guest lectures and who are assisting students with internships, mentoring, job placement and other resources. Companies who have been involved include United Insurance, State Farm, Travelers Insurance, FM Global, Hylant Group, Ohio Insurance Industry Resource Council, Oswald Companies and Sherwin-Williams.

In recent years, Heidelberg’s School of Business, Computer Science & Information Technology has graduated a significant number of students who are employed in management and/or leadership positions with the industry’s top companies such as Nationwide Insurance, State Farm and Westfield Insurance.

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