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With only a few organizations focused on attracting and supporting future insurance professionals, developing partnerships is key, said Noelle Codispoti, executive director of insurance industry business fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma.
Aimed at attracting and developing the next generation of insurance professionals, Gamma Iota Sigma is an international business fraternity for college students studying insurance, risk management and actuarial science.
As of this fall, the organization will have granted 61 university charters and has 10 other colleges in the application phase, said Ms. Codispoti, based in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Ms. Codispoti said it's usually the students who reach out to Gamma Iota Sigma about starting a chapter at their university because “they've been doing research about the insurance industry online and they come across us, or they've met other students at an industry conference.”
In other cases, schools with new risk management and insurance programs will reach out because “we will help promote the industry to the students,” she said.
Ms. Codispoti said that in addition to teaching students about leadership, organization, delegation and teamwork — as well as tips for interviewing and building a resume — Gamma Iota Sigma is a place for collaboration, “not only with companies — carriers, brokers, consultants — but all of the other professional associations. ... The industry is made up of relationships.”
One of those associations is Alexandria, Virginia-based InVest, which teams with educators and public and private school systems across the country to teach high school and college students about the insurance industry and provide networking opportunities.
“What we do is we partner with them and use our students to go into the high schools and talk about their experience as college students,” Ms. Codispoti said, adding that it can be easier for high school students to relate to an insurance student than someone who has been in the industry for 20 years.
In addition to InVest, Gamma Iota Sigma has relationships with organizations that support postgraduates and other industry professionals, such as the New York-based Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. and the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the Professional Liability Underwriting Society works to attract and develop talent through Future PLUS, which is open to members who are 35 and younger and involved in the professional liability industry, said committee chair John Howell, an attorney with Wiley Rein L.L.P. in Washington.
Based in Minneapolis, Future PLUS also partners with Gamma Iota Sigma to engage college students and “to get people who may already know about insurance, or business majors, more information about professional liability as a career,” Mr. Howell said, adding that its not as well-known as some other lines of insurance.
“We want to make all these resources available to students so they can continue in their quest to be a well-rounded professional,” Ms. Codispoti said.
Who students, recent graduates and other job candidates know can be just as — sometimes more — important than what they know when it comes to landing a job in the well-connected insurance industry.