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Attending National RIMS Meeting in San Diego, CA

By Fritz Merizon

May 16, 2024

The four panelists of the RiskWorld mentoring session are seated on stage. Christy Kaufman is on left and Fritz Merizon is on right.

Recently, the Risk Management and Insurance students were invited to attend RIMS RiskWorld in San Diego, CA. Many of us found this an exciting experience, as it offered an opportunity to represent the Wisconsin School of Business and broaden our horizons to the world of risk management and insurance. The event provided unparalleled networking opportunities, learning sessions, and live application of classroom learning.

Fritz Merizon
Fritz Merizon

RiskWorld was a melting pot of professionals (as well as students) from all parts of the insurance distribution channel, meeting with reinsurers, carriers, brokers, and loss control professionals. The networking sessions allowed both undergraduate and graduate students to connect with industry leaders, gaining insights into emerging trends and potential career paths. The informal chats over drinks, coffee, and meals provided students with further insights into what the “day in the life” is really like for those in roles we wish to one day occupy ourselves.

It was a treat to watch students from around the globe apply their brainpower to solve real-life risk management issues for the town of Tukwila, WA. Teams traveling from as far as Peking, China competed against teams from other universities to provide insights into the unique challenges the small town on the outskirts of Seattle is facing. While it was interesting to hear unique perspectives from students with different backgrounds, it was fascinating to see how, for the most part, their recommendations remained fairly aligned, demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the risk management process.

Part of our time in San Diego that I found particularly rewarding was working with my colleague, Hernan Burgos, in applying what we have learned in our Risk & Insurance courses during discussions with representatives from the State of Vermont Department of Insurance. This interaction provided a context to our studies related to Captive Insurance Companies and the favorable nature of Vermont as a domicile for those companies. Our professor, James Swanke, did a fantastic job in preparing us for these discussions, as we were able to speak with confidence on a nuanced topic with professionals who work in this arena every day.

In addition to this, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work with Wisconsin School of Business alumna, Christy Kaufman, in speaking on a panel regarding the value of mentorship. We were joined by Rachel Perry (AON) and A.C. Williamson (University of Georgia) for our discussion. The Risk Management and Insurance program does a fantastic job in fostering strong mentorship between its active students and alumni, and it was a pleasure to speak to the benefits of these interactions. A unique aspect of our discussion was how the mentee (A.C. and I, in this case) could “reverse mentor” our mentors in helping them identify the trends and preferences of coworkers of less experienced ranks. We received strong feedback on the discussion, and hope it delivered value for all who attended.

Overall, RIMS RiskWorld in San Diego was an experience that demonstrated the value we are receiving from our classroom experiences. We are learning what the professionals are doing every day.