Insurance studies degree will be added to KSU Salem

Taylor Titus

Students can get a bachelor’s degree in insurance studies at the Salem campus starting next fall.

“There is a crying need for young people to enter our profession and industry,” said David B. Hazen, vice president of Huntington Insurance and creator of the insurance degree. “We are projecting, according to a study done, an increase in the industry workforce by 2016. A lot of us are retiring in the next 10 years.”

The new program will provide information for someone going into the Ohio insurance industry. The program initially will be funded by a $20,000 donation from the Independent Insurance Agents of Ohio.

“It occurred to me that something needed to be done about the industry in Ohio,” Hazen said. “I set it as my goal to engage young people in the insurance business because very few of you consider insurance as a profession. It all came together when I approached Matthew Butts about this new program.”

Butts is the director of advancement in the Division of Institutional Advancement for the East Liverpool and Salem campuses.

The degree is in the planning stages, said Jeff Nolte, dean of the Salem campus, in an e-mail interview. He said the curriculum committee is moving forward and will be seeking feedback, approvals and endorsement by the Board of Trustees.

The committee will work closely with the industry to ensure the courses will give students the skills they will need. Insurance industry professionals will be teaching the classes for the degree.

Both Westfield Insurance and Progressive Insurance are headquartered in Ohio, and the state has 245 insurance companies, making it the seventh-largest state in insurance-industry employment.

“We are excited to develop partnerships with people in this industry,” Butts said. “This is an industry where you can start as an entry-level position and work up to CEO. When students graduate, they know they can go into a vibrant industry that will allow them to have a long term career within Ohio.”

The degree will initially be at the Salem campus and could move to other Kent campuses in the future. The Salem and East Liverpool campuses have focused on specific degree areas, such as radiologic technology and horticulture.

“There is that much need for it. There are a lot of insurance companies in the state of Ohio,” Hazen said. “The opportunities for people are enormous.”

Contact Taylor Titus at [email protected].