April 23, 2024
Cultivating Insurance Industry Talent

Photo: UCF

Ron Piccolo, the associate dean for strategic initiatives in UCF's College of Business, says a cluster of nearby insurance companies makes Daytona Beach the right spot to launch a risk management and insurance-focused MBA program.

MBA Programs

Cultivating Insurance Industry Talent

Tim Barker | 3/21/2024

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA | RISK MANAGEMENT & INSURANCE

Fraud is one of the most significant problems facing insurers in Florida and the nation. Each year, according to the FBI, more than $40 billion is lost to fraudulent non-health insurance claims. The estimated cost to the average family is between $400 and $700 in increased premiums.

It isn’t an easy problem to solve, but the University of Central Florida hopes to make a dent starting this fall with the introduction of a new MBA program with an emphasis on risk management.

The program will be based at the university’s Daytona Beach campus, near a host of insurance carriers.

“We think there’s enough market demand for an MBA in general in Daytona because there aren’t a lot of other viable alternatives,” says Ron Piccolo, associate dean for strategic initiatives in UCF’s College of Business. “And because there’s a cluster of insurance companies in Seminole and Volusia, we might be going where the business is.”

The program is yet another evolution of the traditional generalist MBA program. The school already offers master’s programs focusing on accounting, human resources and other core business areas. Talking with local companies, they found a need for specialized training in risk management, particularly in the insurance sector.

The region also is home to other industry clusters, including health care, defense, energy and financial services. And while the program is clearly targeted toward insurance professionals looking to advance their careers, it should still appeal to those interested in a general MBA.

“Part of the reason we’re offering an MBA is that we want to keep it open to as many people as possible,” says Piccolo. “It’s our hope that it attracts a diverse set of students.”

The university is aiming for an inaugural class of 30 to 35 students who will meet on Saturdays for the two-year program. The curriculum is built around 10 advanced business courses and three electives focused on risk management, data analytics and insurance. Students will learn to better identify and deal with cybercrime, misappropriation, fraudulent identities and insurance fraud, among other things.

“Being able to recognize it and do a little bit of investigative or forensic accounting will be part of the program,” Piccolo says, while noting that the specifics are still being worked out. “I think the initial program will be driven by what the industry tells us is needed.”

The introduction of the new MBA program is the first step toward creating what the university hopes will be a comprehensive center for the study of risk management issues. Future additions could include an undergraduate minor, continuing and executive education, industry summits and targeted research.

“That will be a few years in the making. But that’s the grand vision,” Piccolo says. 

Tags: Education, Feature, MBA Programs

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