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    Photo Jingshu Luo

    September 22, 2021

    Facing Risk

    When Hurricane Ida came ashore in the United States, claiming an estimated 116 lives and causing more than $50 billion in damage, Director of Le Moyne’s McNeil Academy of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) Frank Marullo and McNeil Assistant Professor Jingshu Luo, Ph.D., paid close attention. As they followed the news of vibrant communities suddenly made uninhabitable, of shortages of necessities like gas and food, and of hospital employees working tirelessly to move patients out of the path of the storm, they knew that their students would have questions: What does this mean for the people directly impacted? For the nation at large? And for the insurance industry, whose very mission is to step in and make people whole at precisely these kinds of moments?


    As the world faces the impact of a global pandemic, climate change, cybersecurity attacks and economic uncertainties, one thing is abundantly clear: The field of RMI has never been more critical than it is today. All organizations, whether they are large multinational corporations, medium-sized or small businesses, or governmental or nonprofit entities, need people who are able to identify, manage and mitigate risk. 


    “Events like Hurricane Ida remind us that society can’t function without insurance,” Mr. Marullo says. “There’s a commercial aspect, of course. Without insurance, many of the businesses that were impacted by the storm would no longer exist. But there’s also a human aspect centered around helping other people when they need it the most. That’s the most important work professionals in this field do – enabling others to return to their lives.” 


    Risk is not some far off or theoretical concept. It is something that human beings face every single day. To that end, Dr. Luo regularly reminds the Le Moyne students in her Introduction to Risk Management and Insurance class that, regardless of the field they enter, being able to assess and address risk are skills they will use for the rest of their lives. That is powerful incentive for them.


    “Students need motivation to learn, and they are most motivated when the material is relevant to their futures, their careers or their lives,” she says. “That is certainly the case when it comes to risk management and insurance. Risk is here and it’s not going away. The best thing we can do is learn to adapt.”