Samford University’s Brock School of Business celebrated with Alfa Insurance executives as they opened the new Alfa Risk Management and Insurance Lab Sept. 23 in Cooney Hall.
The lab is equipped with leading data analytics software used in the insurance industry, which will allow students to work on real-world projects and gain skills that will set them apart from other schools’ graduates.
“Insurance is not boring. There’s a lot of wonderful opportunities in the insurance industry, especially at Alfa Insurance,” said Alfa Insurance Executive Vice President of Marketing Tommy Coshatt. “Whether it be information technology, data science, data analytics, finance, investments, sales, claims, legal — there’s a myriad of options when you talk about insurance.
“We see this lab and partnership with Samford as a great pipeline and recruitment opportunity for talent.”
The lab is a the first step in a multipronged initiative to prepare Samford students for careers in the risk management and insurance industry. It was part of a plan developed by the Brock School of Business Risk Management and Insurance Advisory Board, created in 2019.
“This lab was a major component of the advisory board’s vision for this initiative — to grow and develop a risk management and insurance program here at Samford,” said Alfa Senior Vice President of Product and Data Management Chad Edwards, who is a member of the advisory board. “In the insurance industry, we need professionals who have the skills to analyze data and bring business value out of the information we collect and store.
“This lab and this initiative at Samford certainly fit the needs of the future of the insurance industry, and I think it’s a great partnership.”
For the ribbon-cutting, Edwards and Coshatt were joined by Alfa Insurance President and CEO Jimmy Parnell as well as Brock School of Business Dean Chad Carson and Samford’s Vice President of Marketing and Communication Betsy Holloway.
Parnell said the partnership between Alfa and Samford made sense, particularly since both share a corporate culture centered on faith.
“All companies are looking for people with values,” Parnell said. “Skillsets are important, but values are probably more important, and that background Samford students have is huge.
“We’re thankful to have this partnership with Samford, and we hope this lab will be a benefit to the university as it continues to develop its risk management and insurance program.”
Carson echoed Parnell’s sentiments.
“The things our students will be able to accomplish with the addition of this lab will set them apart as they go seek out jobs within the risk management and insurance industry,” Carson said. “Alfa and Samford share the Christian values that are integral to our cultures, and that has made this partnership even more significant to us.”
In addition to the lab, Brock School of Business will launch the 12-credit- hour Risk Management and Insurance concentration for business majors in Spring 2022, pending final approval.
Samford’s Gamma Iota Sigma student chapter, another prong of the initiative, has been in place since 2019. This group, a subsidiary of the international risk management and insurance fraternity, allows students to engage with their peers and industry professionals across the country through conferences and seminars.
Future goals of the joint initiative include a student-managed insurance company and a study abroad program which will focus on the London insurance market.