Educational foundation laying the seeds to grow the industry

Educational foundation laying the seeds to grow the industry | Insurance Business

Educational foundation laying the seeds to grow the industry
Millennials want a lot of things – instant gratification, memes, avocado toast – but jobs in insurance are not typically on the list of desirables.

The problem, mostly, is that they don’t think about insurance as a career option, just like most generations before them. It’s only once you describe the industry and the opportunities within it that Millennials begin to get interested.

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And that’s the task of the Spencer Educational Foundation: finding the ear of receptive youngsters, explaining to them the positives of the industry, and encouraging them down the insurance path.

“The insurance industry with young people has a particular challenge because, when you think about yourself when you were young, or any of us, insurance is not a top-of-mind kind of subject,” said Ron Davis, executive vice president and global head of customer management at Zurich, and chairman of the board of directors of the Spencer Educational Foundation.

“Insurance just doesn’t have that much appeal. It’s basically underappreciated and under recognized and undervalued.”

The Spencer Educational Foundation, affiliated with the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), is tasked with “funding the education of tomorrow’s risk management and insurance leaders,” through grants, scholarships, and funding for risk management and insurance courses at universities.

Since its founding in 1980, the foundation has awarded 980 scholarships. It has also given 353 internship grants since 1999. The foundation is supported by dozens of the top insurance companies.

Often it takes education to generate education – in that young students need to be educated on the importance of insurance before they’re willing to buy in to formal insurance education.

“What we do is try – in a very practical, pragmatic, and hopefully effective way – to bring forward a lot of the attributes of the industry, a lot of the upside, and just create a lot more color around something that can look a little grey,” Davis said.

“For a young person, when they think insurance … it doesn’t have a lot of pizzazz to it. But the insurance industry absolutely deserves the reputation of being a dynamic, fascinating, fulfilling, meaningful, society-contributing industry that presents some of the greatest opportunities there are in the business world.

“When you explain to people they go, ‘you know what, that makes a lot of sense’. They get it.

“The challenge is that it’s really not in scope for young people. So how do you get to those people and how do you communicate it? What we’re really trying to do is create awareness and attract young people to take a serious look at this.”

To people in the industry, it may not seem a hard sell. But to kids going through university, insurance doesn’t always appeal. That’s where the Spencer Educational Foundation comes in.

And the foundation must be doing something right: about 80% of its scholarship recipients have reportedly remained in the industry.


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