UHWO Graduates First Risk Management, Insurance Class

University of Hawaii- West Oahu’s Risk Management and Insurance Certificate Program has graduated its first class, and of the 11 graduates, 10 were placed for employment in the insurance field.

“Part of the program includes an internship program,” explained Atlas Insurance Agency president Myles Murakami.

Atlas Insurance is an independent agent of First Insurance Company of Hawaii, but the whole program was a collaborative effort among insurance companies, agencies and other industry groups, such as Hawaii Independent Insurance Agents Association.

The local board that spearheads the Risk Management and Insurance Certificate Program is comprised of insurance company representatives, UH-West Oahu administration and the insurance commissioner.

According to UH-West Oahu, the certificate program provides training in risk management for personal and commercial lines of insurance, and prepares students for the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) examinations.

Courses within the program cover personal property and liability insurance, life and health insurance, retirement planning, business law, loss prevention and more.

The idea behind the internship program is twofold: The student is able to gain real-world experience, and the insurance company can get a firsthand look at a potential employee.

According to First Insurance Company of Hawaii, the program “strives to educate young people on the various opportunities and career paths that the insurance industry can provide.”

It is a simple and effective way for local insurance industry workers to help fill the gap.

Established in 2010, the certificate program was implemented because of shortage in the industry.

“It would only get worse as the Baby Boomers like myself are getting ready to retire in the next five to 10 years,” Murakami continued. “In order to address that concern, the answer was to see if we could get a program going to start building the talent pool.

“The whole point is to try to get the highest level of professionalism …”

In fact, Forbes listed actuaries as one of the top 10 high-paying, flexible jobs in 2013. The problem? College students know little of the field and its potential career opportunities.

“It’s a great opportunity for Hawaii,” said Murakami. “It’s the closest program around the country that has any kind of risk management insurance program on the West coast.”

The only other two universities that have implemented a risk management program are Cal State Fullerton and Washington State University.

“It’s pretty impressive that we’re one of the states that offers it (an insurance program),” Murakami said. For more information, visit uhwo.hawaii.edu.