SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — A new concentration at the Shepherd University College of Business could play a role in the future of the insurance industry in America.
A risk management and insurance roundtable discussion with insurance professionals and university faculty was held March 30 to discuss how a new RMI program could help train much needed insurance industry workers.
Shepherd is developing the RMI concentration at the suggestion of and with the support from Farmers and Mechanics Insurance Companies, which is headquartered in Martinsburg.
“I recognized there was a need in the insurance industry that was not being filled,” said Jim Dailey, chairman of the board of directors of Farmers & Mechanics Fire & Casualty Insurance, Inc.
“The number of job opportunities that are available to people all over this area is astounding,” he added.
Dailey called Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix about the potential program at the end of December.
“We discussed the genuine need for this program. We discussed training the next generation in this particular specialty, and we were very interested in working with them in a public-private partnership,” Hendrix said in March.
Thanks to support from the industry, students who pursue the concentration will have access to scholarships to help students develop the skill sets needed to succeed in the RMI area.
Dailey said Shepherd is the perfect place to get the program up and running.
“They have a great business school, and I think they can build on that as a result of the need,” he said. “All they have to do is energize the students and let them know that this is a real good opportunity.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Jacobson Group, an insurance recruiting watchdog, estimate that as many as 400,000 positions will go unfilled in the field.
Ben Martz, dean of the College of Business, said the focus will require them to develop several new courses, but the bulk of the curriculum already exists because the RMI field is so broad.
He said these opportunities are exactly why the College of Business was created last summer.
“The purpose of the college of business in putting those departments together and advertising it as a college was to give the local businesses and local industries a focal point,” he said. “I think that’s exactly what you’re seeing right now.”
Martz also said he thinks this is just the beginning for the College of Business and the RMI program, which is set to begin this fall.