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Students get a taste of insurance industry

Taste of the industry: The BFIS interns who had opportunities to experience the insurance industry in Bermuda, Atlanta, London or Chicago

Sixteen Bermuda students have completed an international interns programme designed to prepare them for a career in insurance.

The students worked in Bermuda, Atlanta, Chicago and London on attachment to a variety of companies under an ambitious scheme organised by the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies (BFIS).

Jesse Marshall, 23, from St George’s is studying oceanography at the University of Southampton and worked in insurance in Chicago.

He said that his field of study would be useful in flood and climate-related areas of the insurance business.

Mr Marshall added: “This internship is perfect for everyone, whether you’re studying insurance as a major or, like me, doing something only vaguely related.”

He said: “After four years of studying, I probably don’t want to go into research, so I’m keeping my options open — I’m doing an internship in accounting at Deloitte.”

Courtney Fisher, 21, from Warwick, has just graduated with a degree in commerce from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

She said: “Four of us travelled to Atlanta and met representatives of different insurance companies for two weeks.

“It was a wonderful experience and it was great to network with industry professionals who can be very influential in our careers.”

Ciara Burrows, 19, from Pembroke, is reading legal studies and economics at Canada’s University of Waterloo and did her BFIS internship in Bermuda.

She said: “We did three weeks and visited about 25 different insurance and reinsurance companies.

“We got to see how the industry works from start to finish and just how small it is, especially on an island like Bermuda, where everybody is ten minutes from each other.”

Tom Svensen, who graduated this year with a civil engineering degree from the University of Dundee in Scotland, said he had realised during the course of his studies that he wanted to work outside engineering.

He added: “I went on the London internship and, not having a background in business, it was great to learn about the variety of roles there are in business.

“We got to see lots of different people in market and to see Lloyd’s, which was really interesting and different sides of the business — everything that goes into the industry.”

Mr Svensen added: “It certainly reinforced my desire to move into the industry if possible.”

The BFIS internship programme started on-Island in 2002 and expanded over the years to include other major centres of the insurance industry.

Applicants, if they have not previously studied insurance, are required to pass an “insurance essentials” course online before starting as an intern.

BFIS pays all travel, room and board for interns travelling overseas for the programme, which lasts two to three weeks.

The students were speaking on Friday, just before they made their end-of-programme presentations to fellow-interns and professionals in the field at professional services firm KPMG in Hamilton’s Par la Ville Road.

Applications for internships can be made through www.bermudascholarships.com.