Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, which planned to establish a student-run insurance company by the beginning of the 2019–2020 academic year, has moved up the start date to May 1, 2017, Clinical Professor & Director of the Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program Zach Finn announced on September 26.
Finn said the opening of the “captive insurance company,” as the business is known, is more than two years ahead of schedule thanks to:
-Successful fundraising, including a $15,000 grant from the Westfield Insurance Co.’s foundation and a matching gift from MJ Insurance and Michael M. Bill. MJ Insurance had already given the program $250,000 to get started.
-The hiring of P. Kevin Thompson, “a heavyweight in the risk management and insurance community,” to teach in the program. Thompson previously served as counsel to Plews Shadley Racher & Braun (PSRB) LLP and President of Insurance and Risk Management Services LLC, an affiliate of the firm. Prior to joining PSRB, he served as Director of Corporate Risk Management for Eli Lilly & Company.
“He’s someone who adds a lot to our brand,” Finn said.
-The requisite courses—a first-in-the-nation class called Captive Feasibility and Business Plan Development, Captive Implementation, and Captive Operations—which either have started or are ready to be offered.
The Butler captive insurance company will insure certain programs at Butler, perhaps including the live mascot, Butler Blue III, or physical damage to University vehicles. The idea is to give students hands-on experience and prepare them for an industry that expects to need tens of thousands of new employees over the next seven years to replace workers who will be retiring.
Students will learn how to write the insurance policy, what the coverage terms will be, how to finance the company, and more. They will be able to apply their risk-management expertise in accounting, investments and numerous other areas.
Finn said there are 82 insurance risk management programs in North America that graduate 3,500 students a year—not nearly enough for the $5.7 trillion insurance industry.
To get Butler’s captive insurance company ready to roll, students in the Captive Feasibility and Business Plan Development course are now selecting jurisdictions to potentially locate the company. Teams of students are developing business plans and evaluating the pluses and minuses of potential locations.
The students also are working with the University to decide the kinds of coverage the company will provide and determine how the captive is adding value or lower the cost of risk to Butler.
They’ll present their findings in front of a panel of industry experts, then spend the spring semester starting the company.