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Risk Management & Insurance Society (RMIS) Evolving with the Industry

By Alfonso Tello, RMIS President

November 7, 2022

2022 has been a year of experiments for the Risk Management & Insurance Society (RMIS) as we have tried to bring in a wide variety of speakers from the industry. Typically, we focused on bringing insurance professionals to talk about risks, but with our major expanding into different fields, we wanted to cover all of our member’s interests. We brought speakers from environmental risk backgrounds, corporate risk manager roles, financial/credit risk, and real estate risk backgrounds.

Back in March, we hosted our first sustainability week in RMIS, where we picked up trash around campus followed by a presentation by Brian Potts. Potts is a business attorney who has expertise in environmental and pollution law. The presentation was interactive as Potts challenged us to identify the risks in certain plant sites. We hope to continue this well-received sustainability week in the upcoming semester.

Next, we had 75+ students join us for a Q/A session with corporate risk managers Andy Adams and Seung Yoo. This event was fantastic as we had the opportunity to see how underwriters and brokers should interact with risk managers, receive advice for careers in risk, and give our younger students an understanding of the importance of relationships in the risk industry. Our club was most proud of this event given the large turnout and encouraging feedback we received from our members.

Our final two speakers were Austin Bennett from JP Morgan and Devyn Cegelski from Zillow. These two represented large companies and provided us with an interesting glimpse of risk. With Austin, we learned how financial instruments are used to assess the risk of insurance companies’ balance sheets. This one was great as we got to see how banks view the risks of the insurance markets and showed how risk management works outside of insurance. Devyn taught the group the ways an enterprise risk management (ERM) team functions and how they effectively communicate with various teams around a company. The ERM aspect allowed us to see how risk techniques/control can serve as an alternative to insurance risk transfer.

These events combined with our insurance-specific ones have allowed us to stay relevant in the business school. As one of the #1 Insurance programs in U.S. News & World Report, our club continues to try to find new ways to keep our events current.  One last event that is becoming a staple in the program is the State of the Insurance Market presentation with Bill Hazelton. Bill has been an avid supporter of the program and just recently visited us again to talk about things that are keeping the insurance industry on its toes. Bill talked to more than 90 members and told us how enriching an insurance career could be, and about the exciting challenges we could solve in the upcoming years.

My past two semesters as president have been rewarding as I have worked with amazing classmates who have done tremendous work in recreating the excitement that the Risk Management & Insurance (RMI) major had prior to the pandemic. I am looking forward to what the club does in the future, but I can already imagine that it will do an excellent job of connecting our RMI students with the industry.