Olivet College offers standout insurance programs for students and professionals at every level. The Insurance Academy introduces high school students to careers in insurance early.
The College’s undergraduate insurance and risk management (IRM) program has regularly been cited as one of the best in the country, including a Best’s Review College Standout program. Finally, the Master of Business Administration in Insurance program offers working professionals an engaging, online path to a graduate degree.
According to Tom Humphreys, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, CIC, assistant professor of insurance and risk management and director of the program, the quality of students in the program make it stand out, as well as the faculty’s unique degree of experience in the insurance industry.
“We really get conscientious students who embrace the IRM industry, and are really excited about the opportunities they see ahead of them,” Humphreys said. “And the faculty all have real-world, practical experience. They get to share that with the students every day in the classroom.”
Opportunities for the Taking
Olivet College’s insurance programs are contributing to Michigan’s insurance industry in important ways. Olivet’s strong base of graduates will be essential to filling vacancies in the next few years — 30-40% of insurance professionals who are Baby Boomers are retiring within the next five years.
“Most of the workforce is very close to retirement, or nearing that point,” Humphreys said. “And, the need for insurance is growing more and more as the economy grows. So one opportunity is company growth, but another is natural turnover.”
Olivet’s IRM program is focused on preparing its students to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities in the field. Graduates of the program come equipped with advanced skills and a real-world understanding of the industry. Humphreys noted that with the high turnover in the next few years, there are even more opportunities than usual to grow early on.
“The people in leadership positions have been there for 25 to 30 years,” Humphreys said. “If you go in and perform and hit the ground running, you have the opportunity to move up pretty quickly.”
Olivet College’s Master of Business Administration in Insurance program is ideal for insurance professionals who want to take advantage of such opportunities. Students learn from expert faculty, who serve as executives in the industry, and are given the opportunity to network with colleagues and classmates from all over the U.S.
Preparing the Next Generation
For students who want to get involved even earlier, Olivet College offers an Insurance Academy at several high schools around the state, including Eaton, Lansing and Genesee school districts. Each program includes both classroom learning and real-world experience working with industry professionals at no cost to students. Students get high school credit, but they can also earn credits for use at Olivet, sometimes even industry certification.
Many of the high school programs collaborate with local insurance companies. Lansing’s program partners with Farm Bureau Insurance and students shadow professionals at the company’s home office twice a week.
According to Greg Brown, adjunct professor and high school program instructor, the program is a huge help for both the students and the industry.
“There’s actually a significant number of students who go into the workforce right after graduating high school because of the class,” Brown said. “It exposes the students to insurance, and it exposes them to the business world in general. We work in Farm Bureau’s home office, so they’re required to dress in business attire when they come to class.”
Humphreys admitted that insurance isn’t typically viewed as a glamorous or particularly fascinating field, but this is a misconception that the high school program aims to dispel.
“The program in the high schools really gets to pull kids in and let them understand what the opportunities are,” Humphreys said. “One of the things that guest speakers often say is that when they were going through school, they never thought of insurance as a career path. A lot of people in insurance get there in a roundabout way. They always say, ‘I wish I knew then what you know now. Had I started when I was in college, I have no idea where I’d be. You guys are on the fast track, because you get it, and you get it early.’”
Senior Chandler Kelley was a student in the Insurance Academy before pursuing an undergraduate IRM degree at Olivet College. Now, he’s preparing for graduation, and he feels ready to put his degree to use right away.
“At first, I thought working in the insurance business would be boring. A lot of people have that perception, but once you get to know about the industry and the career opportunities, you see that it’s a pretty cool path to follow,” Kelley said. “I’m excited about where the industry will take me. For someone who likes people, a work-life balance and financial stability, insurance is a dream come true. I see myself in a satisfying career well beyond college, and being able to pursue my passions, too.”
The future of the insurance industry is changing. And odds are, an Olivet College graduate will be helping to lead the way.