There are very few online bachelor's degree programs in insurance and risk management; more common are online BBA programs through which students can take some courses in finance and risk management. Each requires about four years of full-time study, but many online programs are degree completion programs, which cover only the final half of the degree program. In a BBA program, students may select elective courses suitable as preparation for a career in insurance. These courses may include business statistics and financial management. The curriculum in a B.S. program in insurance and risk management may include courses in commercial property insurance, commercial liability insurance and employee benefits.
Some of these degree programs are entirely online, while others are hybrids that combine online and on-campus coursework. Students can generally access the online portions of the programs at their convenience, and interact with classmates and instructors through message boards and chat functions.
Insurance sales agents must hold a license. In most states, this requires a combination of education and passing a competency exam. They may also seek certification from professional organizations.
Bachelor of Business Administration
Aspiring insurance professionals can gain theoretical knowledge and practical experience that can be used in the field through a BBA program. This degree program offers concentrations in finance, economics, management, general business and marketing. Online BBA programs are often offered in a degree completion format, where the student completes all general education and course prerequisites prior to enrollment.
Program Information and Requirements
Online BBA degree programs are generally 120-credit hours in length for new students, or 60-credit hours for the degree completion curriculum. Programs are available in fully online and hybrid formats. Students most often access course materials through online learning programs, such as Blackboard. Through online discussion boards and chat forums, students can communicate in real-time with professors and peers.
Students need to have a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. This computer should also have audio and video capabilities in order to stream video web content. To create hard copies of course materials, the student should also have access to a printer.
The curriculum of a BBA program provides students with a core education in business principles and theories. Online learners also complete concentration courses in their field of expertise. For example, aspiring insurance professionals may complete elective courses in finance and risk management to become an insurance broker.
This course presents students with the fundamental areas of standard business practices, including human resource management, finance, operations management, marketing, accounting and general business. Students also develop skill sets in order to gain employment, including resume writing, interview techniques, job search techniques and sociability development.
Students in this course are introduced to basic financial management concepts, including stocks, bonds, corporate law and capitalization. Additional topics discussed include capital management, market evaluation and corporate finance.
A course in business statistics teaches students how to process numerical data within a business perspective. Concepts in this course include data dispersion, correlation, central tendency and random sample inference. Students complete a simulation for hands-on experience in business strategies and implementation.
Bachelor of Science in Insurance and Risk Management
Students in an online bachelor's degree program in insurance and risk management are educated in the various fields of insurance operations and products. These fields include life, health, material and property insurance, as well as financial planning and employment coverage. These programs are tailored to give students a comprehensive business and liberal arts foundation, with an intense core of insurance-related courses. Graduates of this program are trained in the necessary skills to be leaders in the insurance and financial service sectors.
Program Information and Requirements
A B.S. in Insurance and Risk Management program is 120-credit hours, and can be completed in about 4 years. However, online programs are exceedingly rare and are typically degree completion programs; requiring an associate degree or 60-credit hours completed at an accredited college or university. Students access course material through course management systems, downloadable files, lectures and PowerPoint presentations.
Online bachelor's degree programs require students to complete courses in business, management, marketing and insurance. Students may select to complete an internship, where they apply the concepts learned in a real work environment.
Commercial Property Insurance
This course teaches students the primary areas of commercial property loss coverage, including fire, inland and oceanic marine, business interruption, crime and more. Students then study how to assess these risks for the specific environment of the party seeking coverage and to create an appropriate coverage plan.
Students in this course are introduced to the major areas of commercial liability loss threats. These areas include general liability, workman's compensation, premises, contractual and completed operations. Student's then analyze how to select the best financial loss coverage for potential clients based on environmental and historical factors.
This course introduces students to the primary types of employee insurance benefits, including health, life, disability and retirement plans. Students also study factors that influence the selection of coverage, which include administration, funding, laws and tax issues.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), insurance companies seek BBA holders for entry-level employment as insurance underwriters and insurance brokers (www.bls.gov). Annual wages for insurance underwriters ranged from $38,960 to $116,600, with a median annual wage of $65,040 according to BLS in May 2015.
Many graduates of a B.S. in Insurance and Risk Management find entry-level employment as insurance sales agents. Students must pass a state-licensure examination to be eligible to sell insurance coverage in the state where they will practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the annual mean wage for this occupation within the insurance agency industry was $64,790 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). This same source also estimated that the employment rate for this occupation will increase by 9% from 2014-2024.
Before committing to an online undergraduate program in insurance and risk management, students should make sure they have the correct requirements, as most online programs in this field require that students have already completed relevant coursework. Students determined to obtain a fully online degree could consider an undergraduate degree in insurance studies, or pursue a broader general business degree that will cover insurance focused coursework.