By James Ballot, Senior Advisor, Strategic Communications, Triple-I
It is an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all areas of our personal and professional lives. In the midst of widespread disruption, however, empower people with innovative ways to overcome the distance from "social distancing."
For insurance companies, summer jobs have long been an important way of educating students about the industry and for insurance companies to evaluate promising recruits. But with lockdowns and other measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus that extend through and beyond the summer months, many companies were forced to re-evaluate internships, with some considering canceling the 2020 internships for the summer.
Several organizations have stepped in to fill this gap, including insurance companies, industry trading groups, and in particular Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), a 77-chapter student association serving more than 5,000 members in North America that is recognized by many as " the insurance industry's foremost collegial talent pipeline. " Earlier this year, GIS launched its Virtual Internships program. Despite a somewhat late start, the program placed more than 65 students on 30 projects at 1
As part of the Triple-I blog's "Insurance Careers Corner" feature series, we spoke with trainees about their experiences during the summer of 2020 and their career journey to date. We also had enough interns to get a more complete sense of how their organizations benefit from expanding the number of students even in the middle of a pandemic.
First up is Anisha Navendra, who is a rising sophomore at the University of Texas, Austin. Anisha spent part of the summer of 2020 staying at the Insurance Industry Charity Foundation (IICF) Southeast Division. She has a double degree in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science and finance – and has "a great interest in the insurance industry."
Name: Anisha Navendra
Current status: Rising Sophomore, University of Texas at Austin
Triple-I: Tell us a little about your experience as an intern. Did you have an internship lined up before schools and offices went into COVID-19 isolation?
Anisha: I watched an internship earlier this year, but as the classes went, many programs were either discontinued or canceled. Gamma Iota Sigma went in to find ways to connect students to insurance companies and insurance companies. My internship with IICF is an opportunity to learn more about the unique philanthropic side of the insurance industry by allowing me to spend time working closely with industry professionals.
How long is your internship at the IICF and what kind of work are you doing there?
My internship runs through August. I help with a wide range of projects, including drawing and examining financial reports for insights into how a charity works.
What skills and knowledge do you pick up along the way?
I learn more about teamwork, communication, doing due diligence, time management and research skills, as well as how to use trading tools, such as Microsoft Office. In addition, I meet and network (practically) with many insurers from different backgrounds and get exposure to a wide range of business areas – marketing, finance, operations.
I plan to use these skills and knowledge of insurance and the insurance industry to assist me in my future endeavors as an actuary or financial consultant.
When did you first consider insurance as a career path?
I became more aware of insurance as a member of my high school debate club (the subject was health insurance). When I entered college, I discovered how actuarial sciences were adapted to my other interests.
All "surprises"; things you did not expect to learn or do?
Working with the IICF has shown me a unique and more creative side of the business and how the industry's charity is helping to redefine the story of insurance. I also learn how companies react to the pandemic – and that the insurance is flexible and responsive. It's exciting to be behind the scenes for no profit.
How will this experience affect you in the future – both in your studies and in the preparations for life after college?
Working with the IICF has encouraged me to be more innovative and team-oriented. The experience has made me want to learn more about non-profits and has made me interested in marketing and brand strategies. I plan to take more classes in business law and ethics to complete my knowledge.