From the Editor's Desk
Back to School
Best’s Review focuses on insurance education in this issue. A Best’s Review survey asks industry professionals which college risk management and insurance programs are doing the best job.
- Patricia Vowinkel
- February 2020
This month Best's Review returns to a project we launched two years ago in these pages: compiling information about leading risk management and insurance programs in U.S. colleges and universities, including surveying the industry to better understand the role these programs play and how well they are perceived.
Our reporting extends well beyond documenting these programs, and includes more than 330 survey responses, interviews with insurance educators and hiring managers and feedback from alumni and supporters.
Risk management and insurance programs are still the exception at most colleges and universities, but have become important pillars of business education at what appears to be a slowly growing number of schools in the United States.
Many programs are built atop support and donations from insurance entrepreneurs and executives who believe in the industry and understand that building a talent pipeline takes money and attention.
Educators appreciate the support, but say the task requires more than funding scholarships. Efforts include direct support of chairs and departments, providing internships to familiarize students with the insurance industry ahead of graduation, and working closely with schools to make sure that curriculums evolve to match the needs of a fast-changing industry.
February is Insurance Education Awareness Month. Our package on insurance education serves as an overture for this month's Emerging Leaders Conference, set for Feb. 23-25 in Austin, Texas. Last year was the kickoff event, a conference full of tomorrow's prospective insurance leaders selected by their organizations. Based on our coverage of the 2019 event, a noticeable number came from other concentrations, with backgrounds that include statistics, technology, actuarial and analytic.
This month also contains AM Best's 10th annual ranking of the world's largest insurers, as measured by assets and by premium. The latest rankings, which are based on 2018 data, show an industry that continues to globalize.
Developments based on technology and innovation are sometimes more visible in the property/casualty and nonlife arenas, but the life insurance industry is quickly becoming a hotbed of development, fueled by new ways to analyze applicant information via epigenetics. This rapidly developing field promises to provide a better view of applicants' health and lifestyle history by examining changes in gene expression, providing life underwriters with less invasive, faster evaluation tools. See “Gaining Insight” for more.
Best's Review also examines evolving trends in the medical professional liability sector, which could see changes in pricing and availability due to a period of declining rates and expanding coverage. More recent complaints about a punishing legal environment are expected to contribute, according to market observers.