From: Captive International

The CICA College Student Essay Contest is an important part of its drive to nurture new talent. Its founders, sponsors and recent winners give their views on its impact.

A key part of CICA’s work focuses on nurturing and championing the next generation of industry leaders. It does this through a whole raft of opportunities: the Amplify Women program provides education, networking and support for women within the industry; the NEXTGen initiative for young and new professionals committee promotes networking and career development for those entering the industry; and CICA’s partnerships with undergraduate universities and the International Center for Captive Insurance Education offer young professionals valuable growth opportunities.

The Mentorship Program provides opportunities for CICA members of all levels of experience to build their career skills, and the annual conference provides important learning and networking opportunities for people not just from one domicile or sector, but from across the industry as a whole.

The conference is also the focus of a key opportunity for students with their eyes set on a career within the industry: the CICA Student Essay Competition.

We hope this will help generate long-term interest in working in our industry and help supplement the captive industry’s needs as the current generation of leaders retire.”

Brady Young, Strategic Risk Solutions (SRS)

The competition challenges teams of two college students to create an essay related to industry, which will be judged by a panel of CICA members. The three finalist teams are invited to the CICA conference, where the winner is announced. Their admission to the conference is free and they are given the opportunity to deliver a presentation of their work.

On top of this, three pairs leave with a cash prize ($2,500 for first prize, $1,500 for second, and $1,000 for third) and the winning essays are published in the captive trade press and on the CICA website.

The challenges set for the competition are topical and geared towards the issues the students will face in their future careers. The 2022 competition, for instance, invited students to develop strategies for one of two case studies to help an organization create captive insurance solutions to provide member value and address coverage gaps for current and emerging risks.

Sponsored by captive management firm Strategic Risk Solutions (SRS), the competition is designed to attract students who want to be challenged in their careers and to make a difference. The captive insurance industry provides precisely those opportunities, and the competition helps to highlight its appeal to these young people.

“The competition gives young professionals a broader knowledge of insurance solutions and a leg-up on managing an organization’s risks,” says CICA president Dan Towle. “Students tell us they enjoy learning about the complexities of captive insurance and how captives can provide solutions that might not otherwise be available.

“They find the diversity of topics and global reach appealing, and most have said they will definitely keep an eye on the captives market as they begin their careers and would consider careers in our sector,” Towle says.

Deepening the pool

A CICA board member who played a key role in helping to establish the competition is Michael Zuckerman, associate professor, risk, insurance and healthcare management at Temple University.

“When I joined the board, Dan Towle told me that CICA wanted to do the essay contest,” Zuckerman says. “I did some research examining different student writing contests to understand what worked, and what didn‘t work. Dan and I developed parameters for the essay contest outlining what it would look like and how it would operate.

“Dan was committed to opening up undergraduates to the world of captive insurance and encouraging universities to send their students and faculty to the CICA conference.

“The goal for the essay contest was to encourage schools with a team qualifying as a finalist to send them to the conference. Dan enhanced the essay contest by obtaining an industry sponsor, SRS, whose commitment to this initiative, and Dan’s vision, have driven the competition,” he explains.

SRS president and chief executive officer Brady Young says he is thrilled to be part of CICA’s outreach effort, which helps attract the best talent into the captive insurance industry.

“It spreads the word about how great the captive industry is in terms of being an interesting place to work and providing fantastic growth opportunities for bright motivated individuals,” Young says.