Butler offers new master’s in insurance

  • Captive lessons: Zach Finn of Butler University’s Lacy School of Business

    Captive lessons: Zach Finn of Butler University’s Lacy School of Business

The American university that set up its own student-run captive in Bermuda is to launch an online master’s degree course in risk management and insurance next year — and it hopes to enrol Bermudian students and professionals.

Students from the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Programme at Butler University’s Lacy School of Business in Indianapolis, Indiana, won licensing approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority a year ago to launch a captive covering some of the university’s risks.

Students have benefited from the real-world risk management experience through their involvement with the captive.

Zach Finn, clinical professor and director of the Davey programme, said: “Bermuda has done a lot for us and now is the time for us to try to give something back.

“Every April and July, we will be coming back and we can do a lunch-and-learn for the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies, or a guest lecture at Bermuda College, whatever we can do. We want to give as many opportunities as we take.”

The new master’s degree course, which will launch in January 2019, will aim to address what Butler sees as the gap between the personnel needs of the insurance industry and the limited available talent pool.

The industry faces a potential staffing crisis, an estimated 400,000 retiring baby boomer employees needing to be replaced by 2020. Exacerbating the problem, Mr Finn estimates that US universities offer about 2,000 accounting programmes and about 1,000 finance programmes — but only 82 risk management programmes.

This week the delegation, which also includes Victor Puelo, Davey chairman of the risk management and insurance at the Lacey School of Business, has met with several industry and educational bodies, including the Bermuda Insurance Institute, Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies, the Bermuda Insurance Management Association, Bermuda College, the Association of Bermuda International Companies and the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers.

The captive came through its first year with no claims, but large gains in terms of learning for the students.

Seth Herdoiza is one of three senior-year students on Butler’s Davey programme to be among the delegation to Bermuda this week, along with Jana Capko and Connor O’Donnell.

Mr Herdoiza, who is the captive’s student CEO, said: “You can learn how to underwrite anything by reading from a book, but when you actually go out and do it, it’s a very different experience.

“In a textbook, everything goes smoothly, but in the real world, there is a lot of problem-solving to do.”

Coverage was initiated by the captive on September 1 last year. It includes the insuring of a century-old telescope worth about $2 million, Butler’s mascot English bulldog Trip and its bomb-sniffing labrador Marcus.

Aon is the university captive’s manager.

The university is the captive’s lone shareholder. Mr Finn said the captive may expand its coverage for the university and may consider venturing into third-party business.

“I’d say the captive has been successful in its first year as an educational tool and as a risk management tool and in reducing the cost of our insurance,” Mr Finn said.

For more information about the master’s degree programme, visit butler.edu/msri. Interested students should apply between August 1 and December 1, 2018

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Published Jul 25, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 24, 2018 at 10:07 pm)

Butler offers new master’s in insurance

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