SFAA participated in Gamma Iota Sigma’s Annual Conference for the fifth year in a row. The conference was held in Dallas, Texas from September 28-29, 2017. This annual gathering of over 500 students studying risk management, finance, insurance and actuarial science offers the industry the opportunity to engage the next generation of insurance professionals. With 22 SFAA member companies also participating, the industry had an extensive presence at the conference.
A recurring theme was the need to close the insurance talent gap and the opportunities that exist because of it. Diversity, which SFAA and The Surety Foundation were uniquely positioned to address, also was discussed, as was this generation’s view that diversity goes beyond race and gender to include categories such as disability and mid-career changes.
Each year, the first event of the conference is an association roundtable made up of the participating insurance associations. The goal of the meeting is to discuss how to recruit and retain new talent in the industry. Noelle Codispoti, president of Gamma Iota Sigma, invited the association roundtable to reflect on feedback gained through a survey of Gamma’s membership. Of the companies that scored high in the survey results, SFAA member companies were included at the top. Students gave them high marks for growing their skills and offering valuable experience. Opportunities for growth and compensation are important to these students, but culture weighs most heavily in how they evaluate a potential employer.
SFAA hosted an educational session entitled “A Career That Makes a Difference,” which gave students more information about what makes surety and fidelity underwriting unique. Luis Montealegre of AmTrust and Matt Pieschel of Swiss Re gave the presentation on behalf of SFAA, and offered the perspective of current surety professionals. Students asked excellent questions and were most interested in the relationship aspect that is unique to surety and fidelity- work that lets them help people and the community, while also working to manage risk and build strong businesses.
“The presentation featured an intriguing segment of risk management that I didn’t know about,” said Rudy Martinez, a student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. “I was captivated by the blend of financial analysis and risk assessment within surety - something I was drawn to due to my current exposure and studies in finance and risk management. I am attracted to the insurance industry because I want to engage in challenging and impactful work that ultimately leads to the betterment of society.”
Monica Gilmore of Nationwide also was on hand to speak with students at SFAA’s booth at the career expo and offer a commercial surety perspective. Having current young professionals at the conference helped put a face on the industry, and a diverse one that mirrored the makeup of the attendees, and allowed SFAA to stand out among other exhibitors.
Students were excited to learn about the Surety & Fidelity Industry Intern and Scholarship Program for Minority Students, and we are looking forward to many strong applicants for the 2018 program thanks to our presence at Gamma Iota Sigma.