Twelve Appalachian State University students traveled to London during the university's spring break, March 5-9, as part of a Walker College of Business international markets course.
The students, risk management and insurance majors, were accompanied by Josh Ammons and Neil Annas – professionals from the risk management industry who serve as members of Appalachian's Brantley Risk & Insurance Center board of advisors – as well as Brantley Center director David Marlett.
The Brantley Center enhances the academic experience by providing space and staff to assist risk management and insurance majors with networking, job placement preparation and contact with faculty members outside the classroom.
Together, the group interacted with professionals – making new contacts and building their networks, saw the sites and broadened their global mindset.
Engaging with Industry
The travelers visited insurers and brokers including Markel, Bell & Clements, THB, XL Catlin, Swiss Re, Beazley and Lloyds of London. Students developed connections and learned how insurers provide coverage for losses arising from perils such as terrorism, cyber attacks and hurricanes as well as event cancellation coverages that insure entertainers being unable to perform.
"This international experience allowed students to engage with professionals and see real world applications," said Marlett. "We are grateful for financial support from the North Carolina Surplus Lines Association that makes this trip possible."
One of the college's strategic goals is to enhance community and industry engagement, and the London trip is just one initiative through which the Brantley Center helps meet that goal.
The group also made time to tour key sites while abroad, including visiting the Tower of London, taking a walking history tour and a guided riverboat trip down the Thames, and seeing Les Miserables.
"'Experiential learning' is a phrase we all continue to hear about in discussions around education at all levels," said Josh Ammons, fellow traveler and senior vice president of property at AmWINS Brokerage of the Carolinas, LLC. "The week-long London visit is an incredible example of how gaining a better understanding of the 'real world' during the collegiate journey will impact the rest of their lives, both professionally and personally."
Ammons added that seeing the day-to-day workings of the insurance industry through the eyes of underwriters and brokers, especially Lloyd's of London, will further prepare these students for various roles within the field of risk management. "They've experienced something that many people in the insurance marketplace will never get to see first-hand," he said.
Enhancing the Global Mindset
The Walker College incorporates a global orientation as an integral component of students' academic experience.
"It was evident from the comments and responses I received from the London insurers, brokers, and underwriters they were impressed with the level of engagement and interaction by the App State RMI students," said Neil Annas, president of Granite Insurance and fellow traveler. "The student 'take-a-ways' from this international experience is likely irreplaceable in a classroom experience and will set them above and apart as they enter the industry after graduation."
Related: Walker College student groups also traveled to Cuba and China during the break. See a list of available study abroad opportunities.
About the Brantley Center
The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center in Appalachian State University's Walker College of Business enhances the academic experience by providing space and staff to assist risk management and insurance majors with networking, job placement preparation and contact with faculty members outside the classroom. It provides students opportunities to participate in professional designation and licensing programs, and invites industry leaders to participate in classes and speak to student organizations. It also fosters research and faculty development, assists the insurance industry in the design and delivery of continuing education programs and helps educate the public about the insurance industry. Learn more at insurance.appstate.edu.