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Opportunity knocks for student interns

Bermudian students who are considering careers in the insurance field began a three-week summer intern programme with the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies yesterday.

Now in its 13th year, the BFIS initiative is designed to give the students an intensive and broad insight into the industry. The Bermudian students along with two interns from the Katie School of Insurance and Finance in Illinois with places in the programme this year will visit several of the Island’s insurance operations, and the offices of related professions and organisations.

In addition, two of the Bermudian students will be travelling to London on Friday, and a third student will be going to Chicago shortly after that where they will learn about insurance from those vantage points. There is also a new programme that started last year for interns in Atlanta.

BFIS President and chairman of the board Michael Fisher, who is the President of brokerage firm Integro Ltd, said: “This three weeks gives students the chance to experience everything in the industry. It’s really comprehensive.”

The programme is a popular one with more applicants than spaces. In deciding to whom they should award places, BFIS executive director Catherine Lapsley said: “We look for someone who enthusiastically wants to know more about insurance.” She said candidates must have a 3.0 GPA and they must write a short essay. However, it is not a requirement that they study insurance. The current group of interns includes Oliver Kempe who is an architecture graduate and Alex-Andre Bassett who is a marketing graduate. Economics and finance are also popular degree programmes among the interns.

The interns who have won places in the programme will be visiting Ariel Re, RenaissanceRe, Tokio Millenium Re, the XL Group and PartnerRe. During their visits they will be looking at all aspects of the industry from the role of an underwriter to an introduction to the array of insurance lines, and much more besides.

Included in the programme are visits to organisations like OIL Group which provides coverage outside the commercial market, the Bermuda Monetary Authority to learn about its supervisory role in respect to the industry. They will also visit Appleby to learn about the legal aspects of insurance and about setting up a company.

Marine insurance is included, and the students will visit BF&M Insurance to discover how insurance for pleasure craft works as well as cargo insurance.

The interns will also be assisting at the Bermuda Captive Conference which is set for June 10-12 at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.

Mr Fisher said: “I’m excited about all BFIS does — for example, we have given more than 100 scholarships in total. And I’m excited it has created networking (opportunities for the interns) as well,” pointing to examples of interns who have found positions in the industry as a result of BFIS and its programmes.

Sustaining their activities, however, has been challenging. “Like most charities we’ve seen our contributions diminish,” and said they see their programmes as proactive ones which will enable young people to make the most of their future.

After the programme in finished, on July 30, each of the intern groups will make a presentation to the BFIS board, BFIS donor representatives and representatives from the hosting companies on what they have gained from the programme.

Mr Fisher said: “None of this would be possible without the tremendous support of the industry whose members will be generously donating time to share their knowledge, insights and experience with the students.”

The Royal Gazette will be following the interns progress and will be making weekly reports on their experiences in the insurance sector.

There are a total of 19 interns this year, many of whom are travelling to major insurance centres to learn more about working in the industry.

The Bermuda interns are:

Andre-Alex Bassett, Ceilidh Blood, Nicholas Butterfield and Oliver Kempe.

Rebecca Peisker and Dana Thomas from The Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services.

The Atlanta interns are:

Campbell Duffy, Matthew Hogan, Tucker Moore, Michelle Allade and Christopher Wright.

The Chicago interns are:

Brittany DeFrias, Shari Gilbert, Heidi Trott and Somer Zuiker.

The London Interns are:

Helen Crisson, Elizabeth Dunkerley, Jaime Ferrari-McComb and Catherine Outerbridge.

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Published May 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm)

Opportunity knocks for student interns

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