Scott Beyer, Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Center for Risk Management and Insurance

Though the Oshkosh Insurance program is just entering its third year, it has experienced both tremendous growth and success. The program began with about 12 students in fall of 2009 and now over 50 students are enrolled in the insurance program.

According to professor Scott Beyer, the program’s founder, UW Oshkosh’s program stands out because, “we train our students in the operations side of the business. Our students are very well grounded in accounting, finance and risk management with an insurance perspective.”

The program’s coursework centers on insurance and risk management, networking with professionals, and preparation for various certifications, including the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). The Oshkosh insurance curriculum prepares students with skills in identification, measurement, management, and transfer of risk. Such skills lead students to careers in corporate risk management, bank analyst, or, most often, insurance. These positions include such roles, such as analyst, broker, claims adjustor, consultant, risk manager, and underwriter, to name a few. Currently the program is available as a 21-hour minor, although it contains several elements of a major (most majors in insurance are 21 hours). Beginning in Fall 2011, the program will seek to transition into an additional major for the College of Business.

Additionally,  Oshkosh offers several networking opportunities for students in the Insurance Program.  Through Gamma Iota Sigma, the International Collegiate Insurance Professional Fraternity, there are several networking opportunities aimed at helping the students familiarize themselves with the industry.

“These activities bond the students to the industry so they feel an immediate connection to the field, understand the importance of the industry, and build a sense of community,” Beyer said.

Last year the UW Oshkosh program received a Robert P. Ashlock grant from the Griffith Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study and teaching of risk management and insurance, to hire adjunct professors with extensive industry experience. Beyer said, “Their whole goal is to ensure that programs like ours are able to go from upstart to a well developed successful program.”  The College of Business matched the funding, which allowed the program to bring in one adjunct professor each semester to teach a class within the program, thereby increasing the real-world examples and experience in the classroom.

The program has several exciting facets on the horizon, including implementing a healthcare economics course and a track for students interested in actuarial science. Beyer is also working to improve relationships and connections with several insurance companies with the intent of creating partnerships to benefit the industry, the program and the students. Beyer said, “There are a lot of internship opportunities and we are looking to formalize those opportunities.”

Additionally, the program would like to help pay for students to obtain some of their insurance licenses and certifications. “It will show the seriousness of the program and the seriousness of the students, who are very interested in singling themselves out in the marketplace.”

More information about the UW Oshkosh Insurance Program can be found at the College of Business website, or you can contact the Director of the Oshkosh Center for Risk Management and Insurance, Associate Professor Scott Beyer, at beyers@uwosh.edu or 920-424-7194.