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RMI Board Members Advise MBAs on COVID-19, TikTok, Embedded Insurance, and Bonds

By Xander Kessler

November 14, 2022

RMI MBA Advisory Board members and students are joined by some RMI faculty and staff

Three months ago, I never would have imagined something as “hip” and new as Tik Tok to be associated with something that is publicly viewed as old and “boring” like insurance. Yet, the use of Tik Tok, Instagram Reels, and Twitter by insurance companies was a hot topic of discussion between the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) MBA students and the risk experts serving on the Wisconsin School of Business’ RMI advisory board. Other topics included COVID-19, embedded insurance, and green energy bonds.

Xander Kessler
Xander Kessler

The meeting kicked off with a wonderful presentation from Dan Sacks (an RMI professor) on COVID-19. His research informed us on the rates and impacts of vaccination in elementary and middle schools. The discussion then transitioned into embedded insurance of autonomous vehicles, which was led by David Leemon (1st Year MBA) and Kevin Taheri (2nd Year MBA). David and Kevin highlighted some of the innovations and rise of data analysis through machine learning/AI in the insurance industry. This conversation was followed up with an analysis on TikTok marketing in insurance led by two MBA students, Madison Wescott (2nd Year MBA) and Chris Lane (1st Year MBA). Yes, even some of the board members can be found on Instagram. The board seemed interested by the ways insurance uses social media platforms to reach younger generations and reflected on their own experiences of traditional TV ads.

The conversation then pivoted to a (not so) similar topic of using green bonds to fund resilient clean energy infrastructure and the involvement of insurance in this space. The board members advised Rail Minazetdinov (2nd Year MBA), Siddarth Upadhya (1st Year MBA), and me (1st Year MBA) on the roles of insurance companies as risk consultants, underwriters, and bond purchasers to support the rise of green energy infrastructure. These conversations continued as some of the board members took the MBA students out for dinner and drinks (THANK YOU!).

Within my two months in the MBA program, I’ve learned that RMI is great for those seeking creativity and not the “same old thing” every day. Whether you’re interested in innovation, social media marketing, financial assets, clean energy, or all the above, RMI will give you exposure to all these topics and more. According to Investopedia, the first insurance company in the U.S. was co-founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, and still exists. I find it surprising and a little ironic that insurance is so involved with the new and/or trendy, but maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve realized that below the surface insurance is adaptable and innovative and through this “under the radar” innovation, insurance has stood the test of time.

It was exciting to connect and learn from the risk experts on the board because it is rare to chat with so many individuals simultaneously who can provide expertise on such a wide range of topics, which highlights the impressiveness of risk managers. I also appreciate the willingness of the advisory board to mentor and help the RMI MBAs.