IRMAS Program

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

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 at the 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 IRMAS specialized courses, and a variety of professional development opportunities.

 

We welcome you to visit us on the fourth floor of Alston Hall, Room 445. 
Office Hours: MWF 8:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. 

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 Program, students learn the principles of risk and insurance, how to manage complex risks, and the fundamentals of property-casualty insurance, life-health insurance, and employee benefits.

The IRMAS Program has two specialized curriculum tracks: (1) Insurance and Risk Management, and (2) Actuarial Science. To find complete details about the degree, major and/or program requirements see The University of Alabama Undergraduate Catalog.

Insurance and Risk Management

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

FI 341 – Principles of Risk Management and Insurance. An introductory study of life insurance and "personal lines" of property insurance, especially homeowners insurance and auto insurance. The 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. The 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 an 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 the management of life and health insurance companies and agencies.

FI 460 – Advanced Financial Planning. This course requires students to demonstrate the ability to integrate and apply his or her knowledge of financial planning topics as received through the curricula taught in the Personal Wealth Management specialization. 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 exams 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 for VEE Applied Statistics.

FI 341 – Principles of Risk Management and Insurance. An introductory study of life insurance and "personal lines" of property insurance, especially homeowners insurance and auto insurance. The 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 – Financial Analysis & Modeling. 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 Exam FM topics.

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 Exam FM topics.

FI 497 – Special Topics in Finance. Preparatory seminar for the CAS/SOA preliminary examinations Financial Mathematics Exam (Exam FM) or Probability Exam (Exam P).

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 for VEE Applied Statistics.

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

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



The IRMAS program 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 often meet the curriculum requirements to qualify.

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*
  • 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**
  • 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. Priority deadline for continuing students and all new transfer students is March 1.

Endowed Scholarship Funds

The IRMAS program has seven endowed scholarship funds which have been established to provide awards to students in The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce.

  • Alabama Association of Health Underwriters (AAHU) / Richard K. Beecham Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Col. Clarence W. Daugette Jr. and Florence T. Daugette Endowed Scholarship
  • Robert W. Hodgkins Endowed Scholarship
  • Alabama Chapter of RIMS / Maxie Glen Jackson Memorial Endowed Scholarship
  • Jack L. McKewen Endowed Scholarship
  • Jarvis W. Palmer Endowed Scholarship
  • Jack O. Tomlinson Endowed Scholarship

*Students with exceptional potential may receive a scholarship as early as the second semester of their sophomore year. **Actuarial Science students must establish a plan with their advisor for completing an actuarial exam.



Events

September 12: AIS General Interest Meeting

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in Bidgood 367 to learn more about the Alabama Insurance Society and our chapter of an international insurance fraternity, meet the students who are responsible for leading the organization, and learn about the exciting speakers and events that we have planned for the year.

September 19: AIS Monthly Meeting with Gary Roberts of HealthMarkets

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Ballroom to hear Gary Roberts, Territory Vice President of HealthMarkets, discuss the dynamics of insurance agencies. A highly entrepreneurial UA alumnus, Roberts has built one of the largest insurance distribution groups in the nation serving a wide range of customers in various lines of insurance. Also, more than a dozen professionals will be present to talk with students about the various sectors of the industry including actuarial science, claims, financial planning, intermediaries, brokerage, surplus lines and wholesale, underwriting, and more.

October 10-12: Spencer Foundation Risk Manager in Residence Shari Natovitz of Silverstein Properties

Shari Natovitz, SVP and director of Risk Management at Silverstein Properties, will be at The University of Alabama as the Spencer Education Foundation Risk Manager in Residence. Natovitz manages a $100 million-plus insurance program for one of the highest profile projects in the nation, the rebuild of the World Trade Center. Prior to joining Silverstein in 2005, she spent decades as a construction broker with Marsh, its predecessor Johnson & Higgins, and later with USI.

October 11: Alabama Insurance Day & Career Fair

The 34th annual Alabama I-Day will be held Wed., Oct. 11 at the Bryant Conference Center. This year, the conference will feature an insurance and financial services Career Fair from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Alabama I-Day is a premier insurance conference for industry professionals in the Southeast and features an outstanding program of premier speakers in property-casualty and life-health insurance, risk management, and employee benefits. This year features a compelling series of experts on disaster risk management including Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, Insurance Commissioners David Altmaier (FL) and Jim Ridling (AL), and WorldCom whistleblower Cynthia Cooper. The conference also offers tons of networking and CE, CLE, and CPE credit for Alabama insurance agents, attorneys, and accountants.

[CANCELLED] October 17: Actuarial Group Meeting with Kirsten Flynn of TAL Life

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in Bidgood 219 to hear Kirsten Flynn, Project Actuary for TAL Life in Sydney, Australia, talk about life in both corporate and consulting insurance environments. Flynn is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries Australia and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries specializing in life insurance and interested in wider fields. She has over 5 years experience working in life insurance, general insurance, health insurance, and superannuation banking. Flynn is currently on a two-year secondment from TAL Life to Protective Life's Life & Annuity Division Product Development team in Birmingham, AL.

November 02: Actuarial Group Meeting with Jim Yablecki & Laura Yablecki of Cigna

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in Bidgood 215 to hear Jim Yablecki, Vice President and Actuary at Cigna, and Laura Yablecki, Senior Actuarial Analyst at Cigna, talk about the work of an actuary in the health insurance profession and discuss internship and full-time opportunities with Cigna.

Jim has been with Cigna for 30+ years having served in a variety of roles that include heading Cigna's Retirement and COLI pricing department and serving as the financial officer of Cigna's pharmacy business. Jim graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a BS in mathematics. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Laura is the immediate past president of our Alabama Insurance Society and interned with the company in 2015 in the Dental Pricing department. Laura graduated from the University of Alabama in 2017 with a BA in mathematics and economics and an MS in applied statistics. She recently joined Cigna full time in July 2017 and works in Individual and Family Plans Pricing. 

November 07: Actuarial Group Meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in Bidgood 215 to learn more about the health insurance industry within the state and to network with actuarial professionals at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. Jill Cullen and Cameron Daniel, two actuarial managers with BCBS of AL and Fellows of the Society of Actuaries, will be in attendance along with Matt Darby, a University of Alabama graduate who has recently attained his Associate credentials, and Jacob Bowman who is the company's newest analyst.

November 10: Actuarial Group Field Trip to Alfa Insurance in Montgomery, AL

Join us for a visit to Alfa's headquarters in Montgomery, AL to experience a day-in-the-life of an actuary. The carpool will depart from UA at 8:00 a.m and return by 5:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided at Alfa. If you are interested in attending, you must RSVP no later than Nov. 3. Email irmas@ua.edu to RSVP.

November 14: AIS Monthly Meeting with Mike Stafford and Lisa Hammer of Travelers

Join us at 6:30 p.m. in Alston 30 to hear Mike Stafford, Managing Director of Travelers Bond & Specialty Insurance, and Lisa Hammer of Travelers talk about underwriting management and professional liability.

Mike has 29 years of industry experience, all with Travelers and predecessor companies. He holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Alabama. Mike began his career as a Casualty Claim Rep with Aetna Casualty in Birmingham AL in 1988 and was promoted to his current position of Managing Director for Private and Non-Profit Liability in Bond & Specialty Insurance in Georgia in July 2007. He currently manages staff in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

January 23: AIS Monthly Meeting with Aimee Simmons Byrd of Rivington Partners

February 13: AIS Monthly Meeting with Tim Seracy of Protective Life

March 06: AIS Sponsor Appreciation Dinner with Dow Walker of ProAssurance

April 17: AIS Monthly Meeting with Sam Snider of Merrill Lynch

News

The IRMAS Newsletter is published at the end of the fall and spring semesters and contains the latest news about our programs and events, faculty, advisory boards, student organizations, and other related news.

IRMAS Newsletter: Spring 2017

IRMAS Newsletter: Fall 2016

Resume Book: Aug. 2017 - May 2018

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 IRMAS Program publishes a monthly newsletter – Industry Opportunities Newsletter – to make students aware of the abundance of opportunities made available by 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. Read 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 non-profit 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 Lecture Hall 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 Lecture Hall 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 & Lecture Hall

The Insurance Hall of Fame Museum and Lecture Hall 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 Lecture Hall is located 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 books, memorabilia and other important gifts bestowed upon the Hall of Fame Museum. The Hall of Fame Museum and Lecture Hall 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 Museum and Lecture Hall 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.



FACULTY

Daniel Bauer, Ph.D.
Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company
Endowed Chair in Actuarial Science and Risk Management
Honoring Mr. Tsuneta Yano
Email: dbauer@culverhouse.ua.edu

Robert McLeod, Ph.D.
John S. Bickley Faculty Fellow and Professor of Finance
Phone: (205) 348-8993
Email: rmcleod@culverhouse.ua.edu

William H. Rabel, Ph.D., FLMI, CLU
John & Mary Louise Loftis Bickley
Endowed Teaching Chair of Insurance & Financial Services
Phone: (205) 348-8966
Email: wrabel@culverhouse.ua.edu

George H. Zanjani, Ph.D., ACAS
Frank Park Samford Chair of Insurance
Email: ghzanjani@culverhouse.ua.edu

STAFF

Reginald Allison II
IRMAS Program Coordinator
Phone: (205) 348-4611
Email: rallison@culverhouse.ua.edu