Tina Valdez is currently a senior at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX, where she was born and raised. She double majors in finance and risk management and marketing. She currently serves as the co-president of the Beta Xi chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma at St. Mary’s. Upon graduation, she will start her career with Marsh as part of the Marsh TRAC program out of the Houston office.
Do you think the emergence of technology in insurance will ultimately help attract a younger workforce?
I do believe that the emergence of technology in insurance will help attract a younger crowd to the industry. Technology, to an extent, is a concept with which my generation seems to be quite comfortable. Students that either chose not to study risk and insurance or have simply not had the opportunity to learn about the industry, regardless of their discomfort with the risk and insurance content, may now be attracted by the use of technology in the industry. Many of us students have learned to admire innovation and exploration of the application of newfound solutions. We want to be a part of the solution when we understand the goal.
Why did you choose to study risk management in college?
In some regard, I did not choose to study risk management. I intended to study finance and marketing. At St. Mary’s University however, finance and risk management are a combined major. Before I took a course in risk management, I believed it only to be a supplement to my education in finance knowledge. In some ways that remains accurate; my knowledge in finance has supplemented my knowledge in risk management and vice versa.
Has your perception changed on risk management and insurance?
I had little knowledge of risk management and insurance as a concept, let alone as this incredible industry rich with opportunity for students such as myself. My perception of risk management has completely transformed since I’ve had both formal courses and an immense amount of exposure to the industry, mostly through my involvement with Gamma Iota Sigma. I thought of risk management and insurance as this small, rather simple portion of business, a concept I needed to be aware of, but never more than that. Risk and the mitigation thereof, has become nearly my main focus when tasked to provide analysis, whether I am sitting in a finance or a marketing class.
The insurance industry historically has lagged behind when it comes to the adoption of new technology. What do you think it will take for the industry to get up to speed?
I believe the industry is making strides toward getting up to speed. Between the emerging technologies in the industry and the growing focus on attracting young talent, the industry is on the right track. I do, however, believe that this momentum needs to continue.
What is your favorite thing about risk management and insurance, and what do you hope to do with this skillset you’ve built?
I mentioned having intended to study finance and marketing. That came as a result of loving both the technical side of analyzing company performance and the idea of being stretched creatively. It was not until I took my first risk management course as a junior that I began down the risk management and insurance path. Risk management and insurance paired what I loved most about what I then considered my two majors—finance and marketing. I was required to understand how to make sense of the numbers in front of me, as well as be creative with my solutions. On top of that, by this point I knew that I wanted to work with people—whether that meant I would be in a collaborative space with co-workers or “client- facing,” I was not sure, but significant communication with others needed to be a part of my career. I come to understand that insurance is foremost a people business. Upon graduating, I am incredibly excited to enter a dynamic industry full of passionate individuals. I am both grateful and proud to be a product of the St. Mary’s University Risk Management Program.