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Business department plans to add insurance and financial services concentration

By Dakota Fredette

Bluffton University’s business department is in the process of creating a new concentration for the business administration major called insurance and financial services.

Two new courses, both a part of the new concentration, are being offered to all Bluffton students looking to dip their toes into the insurance field: Principles of Insurance and Risk Management and Property and Casualty Insurance. The latter will be offered this upcoming spring semester.

Associate Professor of Business and Business Department Undergraduate Coordinator Gary Schiefer, who oversees the curriculum and the courses that are offered for business majors, is helping in the creation process of this new concentration.

“For a long time, Bluffton had a finance concentration for people who were interested in the field of investment or commercial banking,” Schiefer said. “Now we are proposing, when we come back in January, for a concentration that opens up the field of insurance.”

The idea for this concentration came two years ago when members of the university’s board of trustees made a suggestion to George Lehman, Howard Raid professor of business and chair of the Business Department. Schiefer said the board members pointed to significant job growth in the insurance industry.

“These job openings are due to almost half of the all of the insurance executives today will be retiring within the next decade,” said Lehman.

Schiefer said Lehman and Jason Swartzlander, director of internship programs and associate professor accounting, worked for a year and a half with four alumni on a task force to look into the opportunity and how the concentration might fit at Bluffton.

“What we are hoping is by introducing these two courses and this concentration that they will provide growth and we can start offering additional insurance courses,” said Schiefer.

“I hope students realize what this insurance and finance concentration is, and that there is a lot of jobs opening up, due to both the increased retirement and the increasing number of finical services jobs as more and more people need professional advice,” said Schiefer.

According to Academic Dean Lamar Nisly, the university hopes to approve the proposal early in 2018. Before that can happen, the university’s Undergraduate Academic Program Committee needs to affirm the proposal so the faculty can vote on it, which is required for the addition of any new academic program at Bluffton.

“Insurance is so critically important for a democracy, without there is chaos, this is why there needs to be insurance in the world and this is why an insurance program is needed at Bluffton,” said Lehman.

For more information on the concentration or classes in the Business Department, students should contact Schiefer. He said spots still are available for the FIN 299 Property and Casualty Insurance class next spring.

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