Indiana State University Newsroom

IRM student earns one of 10 national SAP America honors

January 22, 2007

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Jackie Zuerner, a senior Gongaware Scholar and insurance and risk management major at Indiana State University, was one of only 10 students from across the country to receive a scholarship from SAP America for the innovative ideas and solutions contained in her recent competition essay.

"I'm very honored to be a recipient of this prestigious award," said Zuerner, who also is earning a minor in safety management. "It's a testament to the great opportunities I've had in studying insurance at Indiana State, and much credit should go to the enthusiasm of Dr. (Mary Ann) Boose. Through my visits to PRIMA (Public Risk Management Association), attending RIMS (Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.), and visiting London to study surplus lines, I've developed a passion for this industry."

Zuerner, the daughter of Dan and Joan Zuerner and a 2003 graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School, said she realized the competition would be "a stretching opportunity but that it would also be fun. This essay was my first attempt to illustrate my zeal for learning of the issues of the industry and considering fashions by which to address a particular situation."

"Jackie is a serious college student," said Terrie Troxel, executive director of ISU's Gongaware Center. "She approaches her studies with a desire to learn and expand her knowledge. She is very bright, intellectually and personally, and she's exactly the type of student the Gongaware Scholarship Program was created to support and encourage."

Zuerner's essay had to focus on the topic of "Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)," its relationship to her major and how it could be implemented and applied to the insurance industry. Through analysis of her coursework (safety management, insurance and risk management, and business) and internships, she came to the conclusion that mid-market clients were underrepresented in the brokerage arena.

Her solution was to urge brokers to implement portal systems that would be available to all mid-market clients. This way, the client would be empowered to review current articles of particular concern (Avian flu, market cycles, insurance industry trends, etc.), track losses and claims, and have a central repository for photos, claims filings, and other valuable information. In return, the insured would receive that same valuable information and a more detailed evaluation of his or her insurance program.

"Through my commercial property project with Dr. (Peter) Mikolaj and several safety classes with Dr. (Ernest) Sheldon, I realized that the interdisciplinary issues that exist are not addressed by the 'mega-broker,' Zuerner explained. "For a mid-market entity without a risk manager, one could profit from the expertise outlined by an interactive portal."

Zuerner found the solution to the problem as a result of internships she had served with two brokers in the industry - Aon Risk Services in Indianapolis and Lockton Companies in Kansas City. She closely analyzed how they were working with their clients and looked for ways to improve on those relationships.

"SAP is increasingly important in industry, and Jackie's project was an excellent application of this important technology in the area of insurance," said Mary Ann Boose, professor and program coordinator for insurance and risk management at Indiana State. "Her idea came directly from her internships, and she was able to analyze and communicate opportunities for her employers to better serve their customers."

Besides the SAP America Scholarship, Zuerner has received numerous honors while a student at Indiana State, including earning the Peter Hudson Memorial Scholarship, the Anita Benedetti Student Involvement Award and Spencer Education Foundation Scholar recognition. She also was named to the ISU Dean's List, was named a PRIMA Scholar twice and served as keynote speaker for the Woodrow Wilson Middle School Academic Banquet.

"The SAP America experience was an excellent opportunity to combine the interdisciplinary studies I've pursued at Indiana State," said Zuerner, who has passed the ASLI (Associate in Surplus Lines Insurance) exams, is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Gamma Iota Sigma, Toastmasters International, the Insurance and Risk Management Honors Corps and serves as a student justice on ISU's All-University Court, among other activities. "I'm very much looking forward to using this essay as a catalyst for my work in the insurance industry."

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CONTACTS: Jaqueline Zuerner, SAP America Award winner and senior insurance and risk management major,; or Mary Ann Boose, professor and program coordinator for insurance and risk management, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2106 or

WRITER: Maria Greninger, associate director, Communications & Marketing, Indiana State University, (812) 237-4357 or 237-7972 (Tues/Thurs) or at