BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University alumnus Mark Janke ’18 said he has never had a boring day while working at National General Insurance. As a material damage claims representative, he investigates and handles a variety of claims from both claimants and insureds.
“My job is to determine if there is sufficient coverage on the insured’s policy to cover a given loss and decide if we owe the claim depending on the liability investigation,” Janke explained. He said he loves the variety in his job. “Plus, the people I work with are fun and supportive,” he added.
Janke graduated cum laude twice from Appalachian — in May 2018 with a BSBA in management, and again in December 2018 with a B.A. in languages, literatures and cultures–Spanish. “App State taught me how to work hard and be efficient, but also how to have fun learning,” he said.
While Janke didn’t major in risk management and insurance (RMI), he took several elective courses in the field. “Dr. Karen Epermanis (associate professor and program director of RMI in the Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance) helped guide my career as a student and was a mentor to me while I attended App State.”
Greg Langdon, associate director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center within the Walker College of Business, also impressed Janke with his passion to help students succeed. “He advocates for Appalachian students by taking them to large business conventions,” Janke said.
“As a student, I attended an insurance convention in South Carolina with Langdon and had a great time networking with key figures in the industry and learning the ins and outs of the business,” Janke added. “The RMI program gives tons of opportunities to students to travel and helps guide them into careers. The professors care about the students’ education and want them to succeed.”
He said his second degree in Spanish is also beneficial in working with Spanish-speaking clients as he translates legal documents, emails, voicemails and other items for them.
Faculty members Dr. Benito del Pliego and Dr. Andres Fisher in Appalachian’s Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures mentored Janke. “Without their help and friendships, I would not have a Spanish degree today,” Janke said. “Many of the professors I had while at Appalachian were more than teachers to me. I owe them big for (their guidance and) all that they taught me.”
Janke is a second-generation Appalachian student, the son of Richard Janke ’78 and Patricia McIntosh Janke ’80.
“I loved the mountains and the general feel of App State — it felt like home to me,” he said. “My professors pushed me intellectually every day, and I felt I could not have chosen a better university.”