UNC Charlotte’s Risk Management and Insurance concentration in the Finance degree has blossomed into a top program since its inception, when just two students completed the program during the 1998-99 academic year.
The Belk College of Business Risk Management and Insurance program was recently ranked No. 11 in the 2022 AM Best Review Survey of the best undergraduate RMI programs. AM Best is a global accrediting agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry.
AM Best’s biennial survey recognizes colleges based on academic rigor and soft skills training. More than 300 industry professionals participated in the 2022 poll, which placed the Belk College in the No. 2 spot in the Carolinas.
"Our No. 1 goal is to shape students into well-trained professionals to thrive in the RMI industry," said Thomas Marshall, senior lecturer in finance. "We’re fortunate to have ardent support from alumni, insurance professionals, UNC Charlotte and our faculty and staff."
The program also garnered a No. 11 ranking in North America based on research contributions from the top five leading actuarial and risk management and insurance journals for business schools.
Belk College programs teach students the essential skills needed to conceptualize, build and operate a business. Associate professor Faith Neale explains that RMI finance students not only learn to plan for, acquire, and allocate capital, but also learn to weigh the risks and opportunities in business.
"Risk management and insurance professionals are our first responders for both individuals and businesses in times of financial crisis," Neale said. "They help prepare, mitigate and respond to a variety of risks arising from health, property, liability, employment and business operations."
Through the RMI concentration, as well as student organizations like Gamma Iota Sigma, students are presented with opportunities to advance their careers in RMI early on. Neale attributes the program’s success to faculty members’ vested interest in RMI students.
"Each faculty member is very approachable and works with students to help them develop both academically and professionally. We enjoy relatively small classes at the upper levels allowing faculty to get to know their students and their interests," she said.
Nurturing student success
The Belk College retains partnerships with more than 100 insurance companies, many of which are local to Charlotte and attend the program’s Financial Services Career Fair each semester. Those partnerships, Neale says, help connect talented students with RMI employers through career fairs, internships and various speaker events during the academic year.
"We enjoy advantages in three primary areas: our location, faculty and industry support," Neale said. "Charlotte is a dynamic hub not only for banking but also insurance and financial and insurance technology. The insurance industry continues to grow and the need for risk management skills in other industries increases as well."
- About 50 students, usually sophomores and juniors, complete an internship each academic year.
- 100% of RMI students are employed within two months after graduation.
- Approximately 80% are employed in their preferred career path before graduation.
- Nearly 700 students have completed the RMI concentration in the Finance degree since 1998.
Alumnus David Rogers ’12, owner of Rogers Insurance Solutions, says the Belk College of Business equips RMI students by providing them real-world training and opportunities that are immediately applicable after graduation in the industry. Had it not been for experienced faculty and the program’s connections with insurance providers, Rogers says he would not have had the opportunity to interview and accept a position at Travelers before he graduated in May 2012.
"Belk College faculty have real-world experience and deeply understand the industry," said Rogers. "The Belk College not only provides students with a solid classroom learning experience, but also prepares them through trips to carriers and abroad to better understand the inner workings of the insurance industry."
Partnerships in the insurance industry are also responsible for helping raise money for scholarships. The Belk College’s annual Risk Management and Insurance Golf Tournament directly benefits students working toward their degrees. In 2022, industry partners and UNC Charlotte RMI alumni raised more than $65,000.
Impact over the last five academic years:
- 2022-23: $65,816 awarded to 44 students.
- 2021-22: $69,243 awarded to 59 students.
- 2020-21: $71,800 awarded to 49 students.
- 2019-20: $77,516 awarded to 48 students.
- 2018-19: $51,550 awarded to 35 students.
Opportunity through student organizations
UNC Charlotte’s chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, an international professional fraternity, has fostered education and career opportunities in the insurance industry in Charlotte since it was chartered in 2003. Advised by Marshall, members of GIS receive real-world exposure to the industry through job shadowing, professional development, industry networking and guest speaker events.
A team of five Belk College RMI students, mentored by RMI alumna Jessica Medlin ‘05 and UNC Charlotte Executive in Residence Vonni Davis, recently won Selective Insurance’s 2023 College Competition, a simulation that promotes careers in insurance and supporting the industry's talent pipeline. Belk College students Torrie Preston, Miles Ledbetter, Mason Burns, Kaitlyn Wirz and AJ Turner bested seven other collegiate teams from across the U.S.
The teams are simulated insurance agencies that make informed business decisions about building market share, developing products and services, growing profit, promoting their firm, and contending with competitors, according to Selective. Previous Belk College teams placed third in 2021 and 2022.
Visit belkcollege.charlotte.edu/RMI to learn more about the program.