A DOOMED FIELD?
Thanks for the article "It Is Hip to Be Square" (Risk & Insurance®, December 2006, page 48) on how to make the risk management and insurance profession appealing to college graduates. It's something I find interesting.
The problem, in my view, is not one of perception and thus not one to be fixed by p.r. or packaging. Insurance as an academic and/or intellectual pursuit is virtually devoid of content (and I am a CPCU!). People in college are not drawn to insurance because there is virtually nothing truly creative or innovative occurring. Insurance and risk management typically attract relatively poorly educated people, and so the pay scale is skewed low, the field is unattractive to bright people and--voilà!--you now have a vicious cycle.
Risk management is marginally, if at all, better. There are too many "insurance buyers" and clerks hanging on (and serving as officers in RIMS) that hold the field back. I have an even lower opinion of the CPCU Society, and I serve as a director there. Much to the shame of the field of risk management, virtually every intellectual advance over the last five to 10 years has come from finance/financial engineering. Finance has pretty much co-opted the term "risk management."
What we need in our business is innovative intellectual content, probably through importing financial engineering skills. Currently, insurance really is all about sales, at least that is the way it's practiced and funded at all major brokerages. If this continues, the field--at least as a viable intellectual discipline--is doomed.
ROBERT N. ROSENFELD
Variance Management Risk & Insurance Services LLC
Hermosa Beach, Calif.
AN APPALLING CONNECTION
I was appalled to read that your writer (in "Workplace Fatalities Decline," Risk & Insurance®, November 2006, page 38) chose to impugn President George Bush by quoting the AFL-CIO president, John Sweeney: "Yet six years of Bush administration neglect and failure of workplace health and safety have put millions of workers at increased danger." Interesting that the article indicated that 2005 was a safer year than 2004, except for the failed policies of George Bush. Well now, small wonder since unions have never been a haven for conservative Republicans!
Rabbitt Insurance Agency
Newport Beach, Calif.
A WASTE OF TALENT
Gary C. Bhojwani, a president at Fireman's Fund, wrote a hand-wringing opinion piece about the lack of available talent in the insurance industry, "Thirsting for Talent," Risk & Insurance®, December 2006, page 62. Apparently, according to his letter, Fireman's Fund focuses its recruiting efforts on colleges. I don't believe he's the only insurance organization that focuses on youth recruitment. Bhojwani and his peers, I have found from personal experience, seem to forget that there are many, many capable insurance professionals in their 50s and 60s, and even in their early 70s, who are unemployed--ignored by the industry, it appears, because they are past what the industry apparently considers their "prime."
Some of my post-50 friends have been out of work for months, receiving few interviews and no job offers. One can't imagine the humiliation of an interview with someone who is 15 years younger and has half the experience describing a position that the applicant performed 20 years ago. It's clear to many insurance professionals over 50 looking for work (whom I would now describe as "chronically" unemployed) that today's insurance industry doesn't want experience, it wants young, cheap labor.
Bhojwani and his counterparts who are crying the blues looking for talent might check the unemployment lines or post an ad with AARP. There are plenty of us out there!
Jefferson City, Mo.
FEEDING NEW TALENT
Ernesta Procope's article "It Is Hip to Be Square" in the December 2006 issue of Risk & Insurance®, page 48, raises several important questions crucial to the future of the insurance industry. There is no question that we, as an industry, need to work together to continue recruiting and encouraging young talent. Unfortunately, Procope's article does not discuss one of the fastest growing education programs in the insurance industry--InVEST.
InVEST is a nonprofit organization funded in part, and supported by, more than a dozen insurance carriers and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Offering programs for both the high school and community college levels, the programs go well beyond being just insurance curricula, and include internships, field trips, job shadowing, direct interaction with insurance personnel and, most importantly, after graduation, a job market full of opportunities. InVEST has wisely remained loyal to its core principles, and over the past 30 years, has blossomed from near obscurity into 235 programs in 30 states with more than 96,000 graduates. But more needs to be done in order to take this program to the next level and exponentially increase the number of schools involved. As Procope correctly points out, the people of our industry need to become proactively involved in order to effect change.
Vitally important to the strength and future of the insurance industry, InVEST trains the next generation's work force and brings new talent for carriers, agents and brokers. The program works on many levels--it encourages local insurance professionals to be involved with students, educates students to become informed insurance consumers and shows students the width of opportunities in different areas in the insurance industry.
InVEST also strives to promote positive public relations, and to position the industry as a respected liaison between the academic and business world.
The potential work force must understand that the industry goes way beyond the "pushy salesman" stereotype Procope mentions. With continued carrier support and strong community and industry involvement, the InVEST program will continue to grow and help a new generation of insurance professionals have rewarding careers in a vital industry.
PATRICK C. MOORE, CPCU
Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency LLC
I wanted to write to let you know that I enjoyed reading Philip G. Kircher's column, "A 'Dog's Life' Upheld," on page 17 of the Sept. 15, 2006 issue of Risk & Insurance®.
There is a case being heard in a Pennsylvania courtroom against a woman who saved a dying dog and is being tried on criminal charges of theft and receiving stolen property--the dog being the property stolen of course!
The owners are not being tried for abuse of this animal; instead, if things go according to law, they will have their dying dog (property) returned to them and the good samaritan will go to jail. There is so much need to review and change the laws regarding our pets in almost every state. It is good of you to bring this to the attention of your audience. Thank you.
Large Property/Casualty Insurance Company
I am the program director for the Associate in Claims program here at the Institutes. I just finished reading Peter Rousmaniere's two articles, "Cascading Into Collapse" and "Crawling Back From the Brink," on page 26 of the January 2007 issue of Risk & Insurance®.
I completely agree with his depiction of the collapse of a claims organization, and how to recover from it. I am researching the educational needs of claims people. My research, which looked at all lines, leads me to believe that many claims departments are struggling because of their dependence on technology for decision-making. My expectation is that the claims department of the future will be 70 percent processors and 30 percent "true" adjusters.
DONNA J. POPOW, JD, CPCU, AIC
Assistant Vice President, Ethics Counsel
American Institute for CPCU
Insurance Institute of America
I enjoyed Beaumont Vance's Risk Management column in Risk & Insurance®on page 15 of the January 2007 issue. My friend Ken Rado and I both had the privilege of having Dr. Wayne Snider as an instructor in risk management at Temple University. He was a brilliant and interesting professor, and he cared for his students and always tried to help them. You are correct that he coined the phrase "risk management." I also had the pleasure of knowing Dr. George Head. Ken, who is director of risk management at ISO, is a friend of Felix Kloman. Obviously, your column hit a lot of chords for us. Thank you for writing this timely and interesting article. You are right. Risk management does need to take itself seriously. Well said.
Senior Vice President, HR and Legal
Modern Group Ltd.
Thank you Philip G. Kircher for the very well written article, "A 'Dog's Life' Upheld" on page 17 of the Sept. 15, 2006, issue of Risk & Insurance®, on an important topic. It's unfortunate that the law and courts do not better protect our animals. So many studies have shown that people who abuse animals often move on to women and children. Making those who abuse and neglect accountable is very important--not only to protect our furry friends, but to protect each of us as well.
Director of Insurance
Assistant Corporate Controller
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
March 1, 2007
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