Insurance and Risk Management internships take students across the Atlantic

September 28 2006

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Krystal Smith
People who have worked in the insurance industry for many years were jealous of Indiana State University students, Halee Cork and Krystal Smith. Summer internships with All Risks Limited enabled the two ISU insurance and risk management majors to spend more time learning about the industry, particularly Lloyd's of London and the surplus lines sector.

"There were people in the industry who had been working for 30 or 40 years in the U.S., and they made the comment that they've never gotten to experience going to London and experiencing the insurance industry in that country," said Smith, a senior insurance and risk management major from Valparaiso and president of ISU's chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, the national collegiate actuarial, insurance, and risk management society.

"All Risks typically hires only experienced individuals with quite a positive track record," said Mary Ann Boose, professor and program coordinator of ISU's nationally recognized insurance and risk management program. "All Risks also has experienced an explosion of growth, and that growth has brought the company to Indiana State's campus to hire a talented mix of our students."

All Risks selected only 10 campuses nationwide from which to recruit for interns, according to Boose, and only eight students overall are selected to participate in the paid summer internship program each year. As part of the program, students get to discover what it takes to be a wholesale producer in the surplus and specialty lines market from the vantage point of an All Risks branch office as well as at Lloyd's of London in London, England.

Smith spent her internship working with All Risks in Baltimore, Md., as well as A.M. Best, a world-wide insurance-rating and information agency, and Lloyd's of London. With these different companies, she learned about many aspects of the insurance industry.

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Halee Cork
"I had the opportunity to sit down with the underwriter and see some of the submissions that he sees day after day," Smith said. "Then, the very next day, I went into brokerage, sat with one of the brokers and got to experience some of the things that they do. It was a real eye-opening experience."

Cork, a senior mathematics major and insurance and risk management minor from Terre Haute, also worked with All Risks this summer. She worked at the York, Penn. office before crossing the Atlantic to Lloyd's of London. Her experiences focused on excess and surplus lines, as well as underwriting and brokerage.

"I was able to see different parts of the excess and surplus lines, and I sat down with every single person in the office," said Cork, who plans to graduate in December 2006. "I got to see all the different ways people did their jobs as underwriters, and I got to sit with every broker as well."

When she went to London for the last week of her internship, Cork said she was able to see the full circle of underwriting. In the York office, she helped underwrite submissions through Markel International, a company that underwrites for companies here and abroad.

"When I got to London, they placed me with Markel to sit on the box with the underwriters," Cork said, "so I could see those submissions that we sent to London right there in front of the underwriters at Markel."

After working in the United States for six weeks, Cork and Smith enjoyed a weeklong trip to London to work with Lloyd's up close.

"It's completely different in London," Smith said. "It was just neat to experience a different culture and to be able to relate to the different cultures firsthand."

Geography and culture were only the obvious differences. The way the business and the people at Lloyd's of London worked was unlike what goes on in an American insurance company.

"In London, they work person-to-person, while we're sending e-mails," Smith said. "They walk right to your desk in Lloyd's of London and say 'Hey, I've got this.' And then they sell it to you. They'll actually walk with and talk to people in person. So it's a totally different environment."

It's a different environment, and a slower environment, Cork said.

"One of the brokers made a comment to me," she said. "He said, 'Americans are in too fast of an environment. We're people to people, not computer to computer.'"

Experiencing a new culture was just one of the benefits of the All Risks internship. Cork and Smith were able to see what they had learned in textbooks come to life and were able to put classroom learning into action.

"Some of the things that didn't make sense to me or I didn't completely understand, I got to actually work with hands-on during the internship, which made it a lot easier for me to grasp," Smith said. "Not only that, but the experience: networking, getting to meet the people in the industry, learning how they got into the industry, and learning how to conduct yourself in a business environment or a different culture or atmosphere in England - that was priceless."

This internship experience put Cork and Smith in a position to possibly be hired by All Risks after graduation. Selected interns will be offered full-time positions and be enrolled in the "University Program," which trains college graduates in the excess and surplus lines, all while earning a paycheck.

"All Risk puts you up in Baltimore in apartments and invests a lot of money in you, as they prepare you to work for them," Cork said. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime."

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Contact: Mary Ann Boose, Indiana State University, professor and program coordinator of Insurance and Risk Management Program, (812) 237-2106, m-boose@indstate.edu

Writer: Megan Anderson, Indiana State University, Communications and Marketing, (812) 237-3773, manderson13@indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

People who have worked in the insurance industry for many years were jealous of Indiana State University students, Halee Cork and Krystal Smith. Summer internships with All Risks Limited enabled the two ISU insurance and risk management majors to spend more time learning about the industry, particularly Lloyd's of London and the surplus lines sector.

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