Continuous learning important to insurance careers

As an intern here this summer and as a current college student, I expected to see degrees on office walls around American Family. I’ve noticed framed degrees in all disciplines, from law to MBAs, from small colleges and large universities. But I’ve also noticed many documents for CPCU designations and IIA certifications. Even in HR, where I’m working this summer. And I thought to myself: Why would someone who majored in human resources management want a chartered property casualty underwriter designation?

After sitting in on a few first round interviews with the staffing specialist here in HR, one answer to this question became abundantly clear: insurance can be a confusing industry. I had never heard so many terms, acronyms and abbreviations in my life and I did not have the slightest idea what they meant. Taking these classes and working to achieve those credentials make a person’s job easier because they know what the other departments are talking about and can put their work into proper context, without having to research and look up every term.

The second answer: at American Family, we take great pride and value in our employees being the best and brightest in the industry. Maintaining this elite status is made possible in large part by our employees desire to further their education and knowledge of the industry by taking classes and tests. It is important for our employees to remain knowledgeable and current about how the industry works, how products are developed, priced and marketed, and where industry trends are moving. American Family supports this by paying up-front for insurance industry courses offered through approved institutions. As a college student who wants to pursue graduate school and continuously further my education, it is reassuring and important to me to have my employer financially invested and supportive of my studies.

Most of these classes are self-study based allowing employees to fit the courses into their own schedules. There are knowledge checks, case studies and other useful tools to monitor progress and ultimately ensure preparation for exams. Unfortunately for me, I need the classroom interaction to keep me on track and I like to learn from lecture and discussion. Thankfully, American Family recognizes that learning online can be difficult for some people and instructor-lead classes are also offered. AmFam tries to make this learning experience both easy and available for all interested employees – something that’s great to see in the corporate world.

Based on what I’m seeing in college, and what my friends and I expect as our careers advance, continuous learning is the new normal. It’s very encouraging to see American Family and other companies not only talk about the importance of further education, but actively support it with paid courses and tuition reimbursement programs. It’s great to know that as new grads move into their working lives, they will have support as they navigate the twists and turns that every career brings.

**Leisa is a senior at Boston College pursing a degree in Human Development and Organizational Studies. She was an intern this past summer in the Human Resources department. In her free time, she enjoys spending time on the lake and hanging out with her family and friends.

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