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RIMS Hosts 214 University Students at Its Annual Conference

Temple Students RIMS
April 20, 2016

Over 200 college and university students attended the RIMS—the Risk Management Society—Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego last week. They represented some 38 academic institutions from the United States, Canada, and Argentina. Most of these students are majoring or minoring in risk and insurance or actuarial science.

In partnership with the Spencer Educational Foundation, RIMS provided complimentary registration and expense reimbursement for some 30 of the students under its Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Program. Students who do not receive free registration enjoy a substantial (e.g., 85 percent) discount off the regular member fee. Inviting students to its annual meeting in concert with the Spencer Educational Foundation has been a RIMS tradition for 4 decades, and it is probably doing more to draw bright young talent into the insurance industry than any other organization.

In addition to attending the educational workshops available to risk professionals at the conference, RIMS arranges some special sessions for the students. One is the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge, in which teams from more than 20 different universities are provided with a case study of an actual company. They must perform a risk management analysis and make recommendations as if they were consultants to the company.

The students provide a written report in advance of the conference and the top eight teams are invited to present their findings to the judges on the day before the conference begins. RIMS provides these students with complimentary conference registration, bringing the total number of students who received complimentary registrations to 61. The field is then narrowed to the top three teams, and they repeat their presentations before a live audience during one of the conference's workshop time slots. The three finalists this year were Florida State University, Temple University, and Butler University. These young people were really impressive, showing a deep knowledge of the company they were analyzing—the LEGO company this year—and risk management practices. They are indeed the future leaders of this industry.

Ultimately, Temple took the top honors, but no one would have disputed a decision by the judges to name either of the other two teams the winner. Second place in this year's Challenge was Florida State University, and the third place team was Butler University.  The first-place university received $4,000; second, $3,000; and third, $2,000. Ron Davis, the newly elected chair of the Spencer Educational Foundation, summed it up nicely following the competition: "All of the students who took part in the Spencer-RIMS Risk Challenge are winners."

The captive insurance industry is engaged in the same race for talent as the remainder of the insurance industry. You are competing with the other insurance industry disciplines—as well as other industries—for the same pool of talent. While risk management and insurance majors learn of captives in their course work, they do not have a deep understanding of the varied opportunities the industry presents. The captive industry will be experiencing a tremendous loss of institutional knowledge in the next few years as an avalanche of baby boomers leaves to enjoy the fruits of their labors, and it will be immensely challenging to replace them. Captive insurance associations and conference sponsors should wake up to this reality and begin working diligently to entice young people to enter this exciting business. Some lessons on how to do this can certainly be learned from RIMS and the Spencer Educational Foundation.

Pictured above are students from Temple University who won the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge at the 2016 RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition.

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