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RIMS chapters promote, fund student involvement in risk management


The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s Central Ohio Chapter wanted to do something to make a lasting impression on the sector and believed a scholarship would be perfect.

“Then, when it is all said and done, we will have contributed something really tangible to the future development of the risk and insurance industry in Central Ohio” said Eric Spalsbury, vice president of the RIMS Central Ohio chapter and director of risk management at Stanley Steemer International Inc. in Dublin, Ohio.

The Phil and Suzanne Renaud/ Central Ohio RIMS chapter educational grant will be awarded for the first time next spring — a $5,000 scholarship named in honor of a man and his wife whom Mr. Spalsbury described as a “mentor to many of us in the local industry.”

“We are really looking to support young people who are focused on related educational fields and dedicated to establishing careers in the risk management and insurance industry,” said Mr. Spalsbury.

Efforts to engage students

The Ohio chapter is one of many RIMS affiliates promoting student involvement and participation in the insurance field.

The RIMS Delaware Valley chapter hosts a 10-week internship that draws substantial interest, said Malika Adams, who chairs the education and student outreach committee and is the manager of the global risk management team at Comcast Corp. in Philadelphia.

“We get a lot of interest ... because I think that corporate risk management internships are few and far between,” Ms. Adams said.

RIMS Delaware Valley also hosts student forums that have expanded from an annual event to twice a year, usually in partnership with Temple University, LaSalle University and St Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

The forums give students “an opportunity to meet and talk to industry professionals in a small setting,” Ms. Adams said. The latest forum in mid-November drew about 35 students.

Outreach and communication are key to engaging student populations, said Kathleen Crowe, who chairs the collegiate outreach subcommittee at the RIMS Potomac Chapter in Maryland and is a global insurance analyst with AES Corp. in Arlington, Virginia.

The chapter is working on devising a large-scale internship and job listing on its website for interested students, she said.

“This would allow us to communicate with faculties and staff in all of the universities in the greater area, such as Temple University, Howard University, Butler University and others that have established risk management programs, and provide a reference point,” Ms. Crowe said.

Such a central repository also could be “a great starting point” for similar efforts by other chapters, she said.

RIMS Potomac also has outreach programs in which professional members of RIMS make presentations to students at Washington-based Howard University about the types of risks they manage.

“It helps give them a different understanding or new outlook on how risk is managed in different types of companies,” Ms. Crowe said.

Then there is RIMS' longstanding Spencer Educational Foundation Inc., which has awarded 73 scholarships totaling more than $430,000 in 2015, said Brion Callori, chairman of the foundation and senior vice president of engineering and research at FM Global in Johnston, Rhode Island.

“We're focused on educating students for the risk management and insurance fields, and 80% of our scholarship alumni have their career in these fields,” Mr. Callori said.

The foundation has awarded more than 800 scholarships over the years, said Andrew Miller, director of development for the foundation.

The foundation's Risk Manager in Residence program, in which risk managers teach at colleges, has “turned out to be one of the most rewarding things both for the students and the risk professionals going in,” said Mr. Callori.

The foundation has sponsored 28 risk managers in residence this year with funding of some $90,000, he said.

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