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Ranked! Here are 2015's top schools for insurance degrees

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As of 2014, the average age of an insurance agent in the United States is 59, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and one-fourth of the industry’s employees will retire by 2018.

And the widening talent gap isn’t exclusive to agents — it’s prevalent in other industry segments such as risk management and underwriting. 

“The industry needs to reach out and get students when they’re younger,” says Peggy Accordino, vice president and director of risk management for National Financial Partners and chair of the Spencer Educational Foundation, an affiliate of RIMS, in a previous interview with National Underwriter. “I talk to college kids and many of them took insurance course as an elective, but they found comfort in it. Reach out to your local school. Get kids into those programs.”

So what schools should the insurance industry be targeting? Below and on the following pages, we outline the schools ranked in U.S. News & World Report‘s top 10 undergraduate programs in insurance and risk management. 

9. (tie) University of Texas — Austin

Austin, Texas

In-state tuition and fees: $9,798

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $34,772

Enrollment: 39,979

In the McCombs Schools of Business, the Center for Risk Management and Insurance is a premier independent research resource for public policy decision makers within Texas in regard to issues related to risk. Research topics include analysis and public policy implications of credit scoring in insurance, environmental risks and their handling, and social, ethical and financial implications of genetic testing for risk and insurance underwriting. The Center sponsors and edits the Journal of Risk and Insurance, the flagship publication of the American Risk and Insurance Association. Professional programs — ARM, CSP and CPCU — also are offered at the center. For an academic degree, in the Department of Mathematics, students can take a concentration in Actuarial Studies.

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9. (tie) St. Joseph’s University

Philadelphia, Pa.

Tuition and fees: $40,580

Enrollment: 5,374

The Risk Management and Insurance major at St. Joseph’s gives finance students an understanding of policies, pricing and underwriting. Students can join the college’s chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma to connect with educators, students and representatives in the industry.


8. University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Ill.

In-state tuition and fees: $15,602

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $30,228

Enrollment: 32,695

Students can earn a degree in finance with an emphasis in insurance and risk management. The RMI program includes traditional classroom lecture and hands-on projects, and students are exposed to industry and government leaders in the field through guest lectures and internships at companies including Allstate, A.J. Gallagher, Northwestern Mutual and State Farm.

6. (tie) New York University

New York, N.Y.

Tuition and fees: $46,170

Enrollment: 22,615

Students can earn an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science at the university’s Stern School of Business. Students take courses in probability, statistics, financial mathematic, actuarial mathematics, finance, marketing, accounting, management and information technology. The program at Stern prepares students to take the first three examinations jointly offered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society and satisfy the three Validation by Educational Experience areas of economics, finance and applied statistical methods. The Stern School of Business has an active student-run Actuarial Society, which offers seminars and meetings.

6. (tie) Florida State University

Tallahassee, Fla.

In-state tuition and fees: $6,507

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $21,673

Enrollment: 32,528    

The undergraduate program in Risk Management and Insurance was established at Florida State University in the 1940s. The RMI department holds Insurance Days, its own two-day placement program for RMI majors focusing on internships and full-time jobs. Students also can “fast-track” many training programs in their degree and can join the Florida State Insurance Society for the opportunity to interact with faculty and business leaders outside of the classroom. Famous alums include Dr. William T. Hold, a 1963 graduate who went on to found The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.

5. Georgia State University 

Atlanta, Ga.

In-state tuition and fees: $10,240

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $28,450

Enrollment: 24,865

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s undergraduate insurance program among the nation’s top 10 since 1999. The Department of Risk Management & Insurance takes a broad look at the industry, offering a curriculum that includes financial concepts in all markets where risk trades. The program has one of the largest full-time research faculties in the world devoted to the subject, who publish more than 20 articles annually in trade journals. Faculty and students are aided in their studies with the school’s two research centers: Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research and the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk.


4. Temple University 

Philadelphia, Pa.

In-state tuition and fees: $14,770

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $25,450

Enrollment: 28,068

The Fox School of Business’ Department of Risk, Insurance & Healthcare Management offers degrees in risk management and insurance, actuarial science and healthcare management, and has about 600 undergraduate and graduate students. Students are active in the Sigma chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, and last year 13 students received scholarships from RIMS’ The Spencer Foundation. The department also hosts four journals: Journal of Banking and Finance, Risk Management and Insurance Review, Journal of Risk Finance and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Risk and Insurance.  


3. University of Wisconsin — Madison 

Madison, Wis.

In-state tuition and fees: $10,410

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $26,660

Enrollment: 31,319

The school offers undergraduate degrees in both Risk Management & Insurance (RMI) and Actuarial Science. Founded in 1938, the RMI program is the second oldest of its kind in the United States. Each fall, the department hosts a career fair that attracts nearly 50 companies, where both full-time and internships are offered. The school’s Risk Management and Insurance Society is the oldest collegiate risk management society in the country and its RMI network has more than 2,200 alums. The program graduates about 60 students a year.


2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pa.

Tuition and fees: $47,668

Enrollment: 9,712

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers an undergraduate Insurance & Risk Management degree, where students examine the techniques useful to corporations, organizations and individuals in minimizing the potential financial losses arising from risk exposures. The program covers global risk management, regulation, estate planning and related public policy initiatives.


1. University of Georgia

Athens, Ga.

In-state tuition and fees: $10,835

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $29,046

Enrollment: 26,278

The Terry College’s Risk Management-Insurance program traces its beginnings back to 1965. The program’s annual Risk and Insurance Careers Day attracts more than 50 employers. The curriculum includes commercial property and liability insurance, employee benefits, insurer operations and policy, corporate risk management, life insurance and other courses.

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