Category Archives: Conference

MAIA 2019

Five Ferris State students joined Dr. David A. Brown for the 2019 MAIA Convention at the Amway Grand Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Students attended sessions to learn about resolving insurance coverage and claim disputes, the future of “InsurTech,” and privacy issues.  In addition, they participated in a networking happy hour, and heard from industry leaders on tax issues and innovation in the insurance industry.  The convention concluded with a trade show exhibition featuring dozens of insurance carriers and service providers.

San Diego here we come!


The Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) annual conference will be held in San Diego, California next week.  I will be attending along with two students from the Ferris State Risk Management and Insurance academic program.  As I type these words, I am watching snow flurries floating through the Michigan “spring” air.  The palm trees of San Diego are looking mighty inviting right about now.

RIMS is one of (and perhaps) the largest gatherings of risk and insurance professionals.  It provides never-ending opportunities for learning, networking, and collaboration.  I always relish the opportunity to take students to this industry event and watch their reaction as they gain a new appreciation for the scope and impact that this industry has on business and society.

There will be more to say once we arrive at RIMS 2016 and begin to take in the keynote addresses, educational sessions, and exhibit hall offerings.  I will endeavor to post a few blog post updates that will be disseminated through my other social media channels.  I also intend to ask the students to provide their perspective on the event that will be shared here as well.

Until then, I’m trying to ignore the snow outside my window and just imagine the Pacific Ocean breeze and warm sunshine.

Gamma Iota Sigma in Chicago


Last weekend (October 8-11), five students and two faculty (including yours truly) traveled to Chicago to represent Ferris State’s Gamma Iota Sigma Upsilon chapter at the annual International Conference.  Chapter leaders attended Thursday afternoon sessions related to chapter management, and then everyone participated in a delightful welcome reception that evening.  It was heartening to see (and meet) many risk management, insurance, actuarial science, and finance students and faculty from other schools gathered in one large room.  Our colleagues from the Olivet College Alpha Alpha chapter made it just in time for the reception after experiencing multiple issues with their bus transportation.  We were happy for their safe arrival, and ready to quiz them on their transit-related risk management techniques. 🙂

The following morning we listened to breakfast keynote speaker J. Patrick Gallagher, Chairman, CEO, and President of Arthur J. Gallagher and Company.  He marveled at the amazing business that is insurance, and encouraged the students to spread the word about the fantastic career opportunities in this field.  Mr. Gallagher noted that the industry could absorb the entire Gamma Iota Sigma membership of over 2,000 students and still have abounding opportunities.  Friday afternoon was filled with educational sessions and a robust career fair that gave students a multitude of interview opportunities, for both internships and permanent jobs.  Friday evening culminated with an awards banquet at Navy Pier.

Saturday began with the whimsical and always entertaining chapter roll call skits.  The students then embarked on a variety of community service activities, one of which took some of our Ferris State representatives (Jared, Alex, Kate, and Morgan) to clean up Montrose Beach as pictured below.


Saturday evening, the conference concluded with a closing dinner and dance party.  We all made the journey home on Sunday, filled with enthusiasm, ideas, and hope for the future.  Personally, this was my first Gamma Iota Sigma conference and I was incredibly proud of our Ferris State students and the growth of the Upsilon chapter.  I hope that many more of our risk management, insurance, finance, and actuarial science students will get involved with the chapter and have the opportunity to attend future conferences.

MAIA 2015 – A Good Time Had By All


Earlier this week, it was my pleasure to attend the 2015 Michigan Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) annual convention in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  The accompanying photo captured Ferris students Jay Miller, Corey Bledsoe, and Cody Simons, along with yours truly, Dr. David Allen Brown in front of the Ferris State University booth in the exhibit hall.

The educational and experiential benefit for the students in attendance was very apparent, and all three students shared with me how valuable this conference was to them.  They were able to network with many industry professionals (many of whom are eager to hire them upon graduation!), and also with fellow students from the Olivet College insurance and risk management program.  The convention offered educational sessions on topics that included ethics, certificates of insurance, and the new insurance challenges posed by developing 21st century business models such as Airbnb and Uber.

For me personally, I enjoyed the opportunity to see many industry friends and colleagues again.  The insurance industry is truly a relationship business, and it is never more apparent than when everyone gathers for conventions such as this one.  The MAIA membership and its supporters who attend this convention are the best of the best, and I hope that students are inspired to devote themselves to this industry based on the fine people they met this week.