Insurance and risk management major helps state implement online insurance licensing

August 17 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana State University student spent part of her summer helping to streamline the process for prospective insurance agents to obtain their licenses.

Danielle Thompson worked on procedures for implementing new rules allowing prospective agents to take required examinations and obtain licenses online. The project was part of an internship for the senior insurance and risk management major at the Indiana Department of Insurance. Thompson, of Terre Haute, worked under the direction of John Kissling, chief deputy commissioner of the department.

"I revised the licensing bulletin to reflect all the changes that the department has made with the different testing procedures," Thompson said.

"We are completely computerizing the entire licensing process to go paperless," Kissling explained. "An agent will be able to apply for a license, pay for it with a credit card, take the test and then know immediately upon completion of the test whether or not he has passed." The department plans to phase in its new online licensing this fall.

In addition to having three years of study under her belt in ISU's insurance and risk management program, Thompson has parents who are insurance agents. Having an intern with a background in the industry was a plus for the department, Kissling said.

"Everything that she's completed has just been superb. I'm extremely pleased with her performance. One of the advantages of having someone who's studied insurance is that they understand the terminology, the lingo, as it were. She came to us with some of the basics already under her belt," he said.

Providing interns such as Thompson reflects ISU's philosophy of experiential learning and commitment to serving the needs of the insurance industry, said Mary Ann Boose, professor and coordinator of the university?s insurance and risk management program.

"I am proud of Danielle and of her work this summer in the offices of the industry regulator. The work that she did will make the licensing of Indiana's future insurance sales professionals much more efficient. This is a meaningful service to our state, as well as to the industry professionals and the clients they serve," Boose said.

"Chief Deputy Kissling is an excellent mentor. He has a wealth of experience in the industry, but, as important, is dedicated to the professionalism of the industry including to education in insurance. He has been a great role model for Danielle," Boose added.

In addition to her work concerning online licensing, Thompson's internship provided her with an inside view of the inner workings of the insurance department.

"I got to sit in on a few of administrative law hearings and I worked with the Indiana Long Term Care Insurance Partnership to help them to finalize database entry," she said. "It's been really interesting. I've done another internship with an insurance company and my parents are both agents so I've seen both of those sides of the business world. Now it's been interesting to see the third leg, to see how the department oversees the insurance industry in the state."

Internships have also opened Thompson's eyes to the variety of careers available in the insurance industry, from agencies and companies to the regulatory side. The experiences have her weighing whether or not she wants to follow in her parents? careers.

"(Becoming an insurance agent) would be what my parents would want to hear, but that's not necessarily where my career plans are right now," Thompson said.

Internships are important not only to students such as Thompson, but also to the state, as the administration of Gov. Mitch Daniels seeks to expand the insurance industry's already strong presence in Indiana.

"We're trying to encourage insurance companies to come to Indiana, so a staff of qualified, educated people with insurance backgrounds and insurance education is critical," Kissling said. "We see internships as an ongoing method of providing a skilled work force to companies that want to do business in the state, and encouraging them to come to Indiana because we have a pool of qualified people that are ready for them to hire."

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Contacts: Mary Ann Boose, professor and coordinator, insurance and risk management program, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2106 or mboose@isugw.indstate.edu or John Kissling, chief deputy commissioner, Indiana Department of Insurance, (812) 232-2406 or jkissling@doi.state.in.us

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Danielle Thompson, an insurance and risk management major, helped implement a new online licensing program for insurance agents during a summer internship at the Indiana Department of Insurance. A senior from Terre Haute, Thompson worked under the direction of John Kissling, chief deputy commissioner of the department.

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