Insurance, Risk Management, Actuarial Science

The University of Alabama’s program in Insurance & Financial Services, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science (IRMAS) provides students with an understanding of how risks are managed and financed. The program also prepares students to make informed decisions as professionals serving clients and managing companies, and as responsible citizens. The program is located in the Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies in Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

The University of Alabama has a proud heritage of educating our nation’s finest students to become executives and professionals in risk management and insurance. In 1921, Dean Lee Bidgood taught the first insurance course at the University; only five years after Dr. Solomon S. Huebner taught the first such course at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In November 2007, the Actuarial Science program was established with the guidance of the Society of Actuaries and Casualty Actuarial Society. The IRMAS program has continued to prosper through the vision and effort of dedicated industry professionals, and has become one of the premier undergraduate programs at the University of Alabama.

The IRMAS program prepares graduates for professional careers that will enhance the economic security of our society. Specializing in IRMAS provides a wide variety of interesting and stimulating career opportunities. Academically, students are able to explore their individual needs and interests through core courses in general business, advanced courses in insurance and risk management, and a variety of developmental opportunities. 

 

In today’s global economy, organizations and individuals must respond to numerous uncertainties: property-liability loss exposures, retirement planning, employee benefit programs, cost of litigation or judgment, and various other financial risks. The practice of managing risk against major loss and coordinating responses to the full spectrum of risks are the responsibilities of professionals in the interrelated fields of insurance, risk management and actuarial science.

Four reasons to consider a career in insurance:

  1. Insurance is a sustainable industry. In an unstable and uncertain economy, insurance offers job security for Millennials who may be concerned about the fluctuating job market. As long as people continue to drive cars, buy homes and have families, there will always be a need for insurance.

  2. Insurance has a strong hiring climate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 2.6 million people in the United States work in the insurance field. With an older than average workforce, the insurance industry will need to fill at least 430,000 positions by 2020.

  3. Insurance is diverse. There are a wide range of career opportunities available to IRMAS graduates. In addition to opportunities in underwriting and claims, insurance companies also offer careers for those interest in human resources, investment management, marketing, corporate finance, health care, big data and predictive analytics, real estate, enterprise risk management, and the public sector. IRMAS graduates can also find a demand for their knowledge in fields such as commercial and investment banking or general business management.

  4. Insurance is a service industry. Insurance is the fastest growing of all service industries. Working in the industry means you help individuals or businesses manage risk to protect themselves from major losses and to anticipate potential risk problems. Often, these professionals help people understand insurance needs and policy options. This work is not only personally rewarding but can be financially rewarding as well.

You can find more information about career options in the IRMAS Brochure or in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.



Culverhouse College of Commerce ranks among the top schools in the world for students seeking a career in insurance, risk management, or actuarial science. U.S. News and World Report ranks Culverhouse’s undergraduate business program in the top three to four percent of public business programs in the nation. Our interdisciplinary approach allows students to explore individual needs and interests. Within the IRMAS, students learn the principles of risk and insurance, how to manage complex risks, and the fundamentals of the property-casualty insurance, life-health insurance, and employee benefits.

The IRMAS program is home to three specializations: (1) Insurance & Financial Services, (2) Risk Management, or (3) Actuarial Science. The curriculum for these specializations are divided into two categories: (1) Insurance and Risk Management, and (2) Actuarial Science. To find complete details about degree, major and/or program requirements see The University of Alabama Undergraduate Catalog.

Insurance & Financial Services and Risk Management

Specialized Insurance and Risk Management coursework consist of seven courses, of which students are required to take FI 341, plus two IRMAS electives.

FI 341 – Principles of Risk Management and Insurance. Introductory study of life insurance and "personal lines" of property insurance, especially homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Economic environment of insurance and how to read and evaluate insurance contracts. Examines different types of life insurance contracts as well as savings and investment alternatives and their uses in estate planning.

FI 360 – Personal Asset Management. Financial assets as vehicles for saving for the future. Students will also learn how to invest in a combination of assets to meet their objectives and how their objectives may change over their life span.

FI 442 – Business Risk Management. Analysis of risks facing business and governmental entities. Various methods of both controlling the risks and financing the risks, including both insurance and non-insurance alternatives.

FI 443 – Property & Liability Insurance. Current financial, legal, and social problems concerning the property-liability insurance industry. Role of government in providing insurance and topics in the management of property-liability insurance companies and agencies.

FI 444 – Life & Health Insurance. Detailed analysis of life insurance and health insurance with emphasis on their role in employee-benefit planning. Specific provisions of qualified retirement plans. Current problems facing the life insurance industry and analysis of the distribution system for life and health insurance. Topics in management of life and health insurance companies and agencies.

FI 460 – Advanced Financial Planning. This course requires student to demonstrate the ability to integrate and apply his or her knowledge of financial planning topics as received through the curricula taught in the Wealth Management Concentration. Through this course, you will apply the financial planning process to real-life situations and to communicate your planning recommendations via both a written plan and an oral presentation

LGS 403 – Estates & Trusts. This course treats principles and rules of law relating to wills and inheritances; how the estates of deceased persons are administered; why and how trusts are created and operated; and the duties and settlement of executors, administrators, and trustees.

Actuarial Science

Specialized Actuarial Science coursework prepares students to pass two Preliminary Examinations established by the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries (CAS/SOA). The curriculum also allows students to complete all three CAS/SOA Verification of Educational Experiences (VEE) requirements. Additionally, students are required to complete the calculus sequence (MATH 125, MATH 126, and MATH 227).

EC 413 – Economic Forecasting & Analysis. Survey of the analytical techniques used by economists to forecast the macro and micro levels of economic activity and the effects of public policy on the economy. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. Approved VEE Applied Statistics Course.

FI 341 – Principles of Risk Management and Insurance. Introductory study of life insurance and "personal lines" of property insurance, especially homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Economic environment of insurance and how to read and evaluate insurance contracts. Examines different types of life insurance contracts as well as savings and investment alternatives and their uses in estate planning

FI 389 – Computerized Management Information Systems. Introduction to the components of computerized management information systems and applications of computer-based systems to business decisions. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. Covers topics on Exam FM.

FI 419 – Financial Derivatives. Addresses managing financial risks such as adverse stock price movements, adverse interest rate changes and adverse commodity price changes with specific attention given to employing futures, options and swap contracts. Covers topics on Exam FM.

FI 497 – Special Topics in Finance.  Preparatory seminar for the Financial Mathematics Exam (Exam FM) or the Probability Exam (Exam P); both are preliminary examinations established by Society of Actuaries.

ST 452 – Applied Regression Analysis. Data analysis using multiple linear regression, including residual plots, transformations, hypothesis tests, outlier diagnostics, analysis of covariance, variable selection techniques and co-linearity. Logistic regression uses similarly discussed for dealing with binary valued independent variables. Approved VEE Applied Statistics Course.

ST 454 – Mathematical Statistic I. Distributions of random variables, moments of random variables, probability distributions, joint distributions, and change of variable techniques. Covers topics on Exam P.

ST 455 – Mathematical Statistic II. Theory of order statistics, point estimation, interval estimation, and hypothesis testing. Covers topics on Exam P.



The Insurance & Financial Services, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science (IRMAS) awards scholarships every year to students of outstanding merit. The scholarships are intended for students who agree to pursue one of the IRMAS specializations. However, students who specialize in Personal Wealth Management normally meet the curriculum requirements to qualify for a scholarship.

Qualifications

To be considered for a scholarship, recipients must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time student (12 hours or more per term)
  • Junior or Senior in the Culverhouse College of Commerce (In selected cases, students with exceptional potential may receive a scholarship as early as the second semester of their sophomore year)
  • Maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Pursue or agree to pursue one of the IRMAS specializations
  • Complete the curriculum requirements of the specialization (Actuarial Science students must establish a plan with their advisor for completing an actuarial exam)
  • Join and remain active in the Alabama Insurance Society
  • Participate in events sponsored by the IRMAS program

IRMAS scholarships are awarded for a maximum of four (4) semesters. However, there have been few occasions where students have had their scholarships renewed for a fifth (5) semester.

NOTE: If you would like to be considered for a scholarship, please see Dr. William H. Rabel about the three insurance-related courses you must take to qualify for a scholarship.

APPLY: Please login to MyBama and click the Academics tab, then look in the center column for the Scholarships box. The priority deadline for continuing students and all new transfer students is March 1.

Scholarship Endowment Funds:

The IRMAS program has six endowed scholarship funds which have been established to award students in the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration.

  • Alabama Association of Health Underwriters / Richard K. Beecham Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Alabama Chapter of RIMS / Maxie Glen Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Robert W. Hodgkins Endowed Scholarship
  • Jack L. McKewen Endowed Scholarship
  • Jarvis W. Palmer Endowed Scholarship
  • Jack O. Tomlinson Endowed Scholarship


The Insurance & Financial Services, Risk Management and Actuarial Science (IRMAS) Newsletter is published at the end of each academic year and contains important information about the IRMAS program, its advisory boards, the Alabama Insurance Society, the Epsilon Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, and other related news. Download a‚Äčnd read our current issue in .pdf form here OR click the image below to view it in “page-turning” software.

IRMAS Newsletter: Spring 2017

 

IRMAS Newsletter: Fall 2016

 

Resume Book: Aug. 2017 - May 2017

 

IRMAS Newsletter: Spring 2016

 

IRMAS Program Review: 2006-2015

 

IRMAS Newsletter: Fall 2015

 

IRMAS Newsletter: Aug. 2014 - May 2015

 


Industry Opportunities Newsletter

Several national industry scholarship and other opportunities are available to the students studying insurance, risk management, or actuarial science. The Insurance & Finance Services, Risk Management and Actuarial Sciences (IRMAS) program publishes a monthly newsletter – Industry Opportunities Newsletter – to make students aware of the abundance of opportunities made available companies and organizations in the insurance and financial service industry. The newsletter contains scholarships, conferences, competitions, internships as well as job postings. These opportunities are not affiliated with the University of Alabama and are subject to change. Click here to download the latest Industry Opportunities Newsletter.

More Industry Resources

Be An Actuary is made available by the actuarial profession for students interested in actuarial careers.

The American Institute for Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (AICPCU) and Insurance Institute of America are nonprofit organizations offering education, certification, publications, and research reports to businesses and individuals in risk management and property and liability insurance.

The American College is an independent, nonprofit, accredited educational institution providing graduate and professional education. (CLU, ChFC, and CFP)

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) focuses on supporting casualty actuaries who are committed to achieving their full professional potential while maintaining the highest standards of conduct and competence.

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification marks identify professionals who have met the high standards of competency and ethics established and enforced by CFP Board.

The Insurance Information Institute is perhaps the most accessible and authoritative source of information about insurance, including special pages about employment, consumer information, and current issues/events.

Intermediaries and Reinsurance Underwriters (IRU) promotes professionalism and educational advancement and provides member forums for members companies.  Produces the Journal of Reinsurance.

The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) is a national trade association representing the surplus lines insurance industry and the wholesale insurance marketing system.

The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) serves its member entities by proactively providing the highest quality products, services and information to manage all forms of business risk.

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is the largest professional organization dedicated to serving 24,000 actuarial members and the public in the United States, Canada and worldwide.



The Insurance & Financial Services, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science (IRMAS) program operates under the guidance of dedicated professionals who serve on its advisory boards: the Alabama Insurance Planning Commission and the Alabama Actuarial Council.

The Alabama Insurance Planning Commission (AIPC) is a group of elected executives and renowned public service officials who are dedicated to the insurance and financial services industry. AIPC is actively involved in advising the IRMAS faculty on industry policies and trends, as well as the planning and implementation of special programs such as Alabama Insurance Day (I-Day) and the Alabama Insurance Humanitarian Award. Click here for a listing of current AIPC members.

The Alabama Actuarial Council (AAC) is comprised of industry and senior public service leaders who are instrumental in the continued growth and success of the Actuarial Science program at the University of Alabama. These practicing actuaries engage in strategic planning for the Actuarial Science program as well as assisting in the career development and job placement of students. Click here for a listing of current AAC members.



The Insurance Hall of Fame is the insurance industry’s highest prestigious honor. It is awarded to leaders, innovators and visionaries in the insurance field for having made a broad, encompassing and lasting contribution to the industry. Located on at the University of Alabama, the Insurance Hall of Fame Museum and Portrait Gallery houses a collection of memorabilia illustrating the impact the insurance industry and its leaders have had on the world, especially in times of disaster and economic downturn. The Portrait Gallery displays an extensive selection of original portraits of Hall of Fame Laureates.

Brief History

In 1957, the Insurance Hall of Fame Award was created at Griffith Foundation by Dr. John Bickley, Professor Emeritus of Insurance at the University of Alabama. It was created to reflect Dr. Bickley’s view that the institution of insurance would greatly benefit by honoring individuals who have enhanced the ability of insurers to serve society. By recognizing innovators, visionaries and leaders, the industry encourages each new generation to higher levels of performance and dedication.

Today, the Insurance Hall of Fame has more than 100 laureates and serves as a reminder of the insurance industry’s impact on the world and society. The honor is awarded annually by the International Insurance Society, the world's most prestigious industry organization, with members representing global insurance leaders, international regulatory authorities and worldwide insurance scholars from over 90 countries and all sectors of the industry.

Hall of Fame Museum & Portrait Gallery

The Insurance Hall of Fame Museum and Portrait Gallery were established under the leadership of Dr. Bickley at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce in 1987 to honor the Hall of Fame Laureates. The museum and gallery was developed with the support and generosity of over 400 individuals and companies from some 50 countries.

The Hall of Fame Portrait Gallery is housed in a lecture hall on the lower level of Mary Hewell Alston Hall and features 80 original portraits of Hall of Fame Laureates. The Hall of Fame Museum, located on the 4th floor of Alston Hall showcases a gallery of books, memorabilia and other important gifts bestowed upon the Hall of Fame Museum. Both chronicles the history of insurance and honors leaders in the industry, living and deceased. A multimedia collection of Laureate portraits, videos and biographies are also featured at the Claire and Joseph Smetana Gallery at St. John's University in New York City.

Visiting

The Insurance Hall of Fame Gallery and Museum is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. via appointment. Admission is free. For more information or to schedule a tour contact Reginald Allison, IRMAS Program Coordinator, at rallison@culverhouse.ua.edu or (205) 348-4611.