The Risk Management study group supported by URMIA for it's members can come at any time in your career path. Listen to these professionals as they share their story about the ARM journey during their time into and through higher education risk management. Join host Jenny Whittington and guests Jacob Sajinyan, Miguel Delgado, and Nakeschi Watkins.
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Jenny: Welcome to URMIA matters. This is Jenny Whittington URMIA’s executive director. And today we're going to talk about the arm study group that we have available to our members. And I have wonderful members with me today. First I have Nakeschi Watkins from Cornell. Why don't you give us a little hello Nakeschi and some background about yourself and how you got involved with.
Nakeschi: Hi Jenny I'm Nakeschi Watkins from Cornell university, director of risk management and insurance. I got involved with URMIA, I would say. Since I first entered higher education and that could go back to October of 2009. And since then URMIA has been very valuable um, for information gathering, sharing collaboration, as well as professional development.
Jenny: That is awesome. I think I was there in 2009. When you became involved, you, you led our professional development committee for a while. I know you've helped with several conferences and always been a joy to work with you. So, so happy you could be with us today. Okay. So let's turn and welcome Jacob. And forgive me, Jacob, please say your last name. I know I'm going to say it wrong. I know you’ve even coached me on it.
Jacob: It's all right. It is Sajinyan.
Jenny: well, Jacob, it's so wonderful to have you with us today as well. Jacob's our new URMIA, finance committee chair, which is awesome. And he's been involved with URMIA for a number of years as well. And he took the ARM review course when we offered. A few years back from Erike. So he is going to talk a little bit about his ARM journey, but first Jacob, tell us about how you got into the wacky world of higher education risk management.
Jacob: thank you, Jenny. And good evening to you. I became involved in risk management starting in 2017, the spring of 2017. And I was thrown right into it actually, because my previous supervisor who hired me had left a few months after I began working at Brandeis University. And after she left, you know, I was asked the question, would you like to help with our insurance renewal?
I said, yeah, that's the young, new eager employee to try and prove himself. And one, one thing led to another. I really enjoyed the insurance renewal process, learning about all the policies and how that fit into what brand, what people are Brandeis do. And back to the spring of 2017. I attended the regional conference at Babson College.
Which was a wonderful, I mean, instantly I just knew I was in my, I knew I had met my people. I had met my community. Everyone was so warm, so welcoming and willing to share information and just, you know, just to make you feel that higher ed risk management is definitely a field and an industry worth looking into and exploring for one’s career.
Jenny: That's awesome. Well, I'm glad that you felt welcome and we, we are just so fortunate to have you in the membership and that you're involved with us. And we also have a third guest today. Miguel Delgado from University of Arizona. Um, Miguel just got elected to our board of directors. I'm thrilled that you could be with us, Miguel.
Just give a little bit of history about how you got into higher education, risk management and URMIA.
Miguel: Um, So I started working in, in insurance. I believe it was back in 2009. And I worked in on the claim side, which, which I loved doing. Um, I was a multiline claims adjuster for a large commercial insurance carrier. And then um, a few years later I transitioned into workers' compensation, which I've always thought is so fascinating.
Um, There's just some, some different nuances to it and I loved it. Plan to continue doing, you know, you know, working in that industry. it was in 2012 when I entered the wonderful world of higher ed risk management. I saw a job posting for a risk analyst for workers' compensation at the University of New Mexico, which I thought was extremely interesting and never really thought about the risk and insurance possibilities within higher education.
So, one thing led to another and uh, I ended up there, you know, managing that program. And I just, I just, you know, discovered this, this, this whole world that I didn't know existed, I thought it was great.
Jenny: And then, so you, you were at New Mexico for a number of years. And how long have you been at Arizona now?
Miguel: I came to the University of Arizona in 2017 as the assistant director for insurance programs.
Jenny: Awesome. Well, again uh, welcome to all of you to the podcast. Thanks for being my guest today. So we are going to be talking about your individual ARM journeys. So I'd like to start with Nakeschi. Um, Just tell us, you know, where, where you are in getting the ARM designation, how long you've been studying and just a little bit of detail about that.
Nakeschi: So I'm currently in the last and final ARM 402. What was interesting is, is that I had had ARM 54. But of course the Institute went through the changes, et cetera. And then, you know, I'm like, okay, I really need to finish these um, you know, the landscape was changing. And you know, I think for me, the ARM just kind of confirms a lot of what I know in the industry and what's going on. And it puts more, I like to say those terms, that the stakeholders and the collaborators with that I work with across campus. So it actually was doing COVID then I say, I actually locked down. Because I had to be at home every day in front of the computer.
So I had a really disciplined uh, I would say time that I would work, but then I would cut off every day at like five o'clock. I would go do the Institute do my practice questions, read my chapters, but also listen to Erike’s weekly conversations as well. And I can remember my first once I did 4 0 1, I prepped I want to say for like eight weeks straight and then the weekend prior to me taking the test… So I like just worked so hard on Friday. I took the day off of work and just reinforced everything that I did. And then on Saturday I did the same thing. I woke up on Sunday and I was like, okay, I'm going to relax. And I actually started to take the tests and I was finished in no time. And definitely, I would say through my journey the 4 0 2 is much harder then the 4 0 1. But I, I learned so much, you know, but, but it's been a great experience. And I think with, with working with Erike, and just listening to him, giving firm examples helped me to associate everything much better. And that way I was kind of able to associate what the institutes was teaching and in, in Erike and work together.
And it helped me tremendous.
Jenny: That's awesome. Okay, Jacob, let's turn to you. You probably started studying the air um, right after you, you had that opportunity at your institution um, to learn about risk and insurance. So tell us about how your ARM journey.
Jacob: Yes, absolutely. So my arm journey actually didn't start until almost two years after I became involved in higher ed risk management. Believe it or not, I actually switched up jobs again delving more deeply into risk management and I wanted to stick more on the finance side and it wasn't until that it was the 2018 conference in Salt Lake City. I remember I just had such a great time at that conference. The networking was wonderful. I had made good connections and, and then I remember right, as soon as I came back home. The week after just saying, I felt this buzz and I was like, oh, I'm so inspired to, to like get a certification. No, really.
That's, that's, that's really the thinking that I had. I just felt... I had a great time and the energy was still with me. And I went on the Institute then registered for my first ARM, ARM 54 at the time. This was in October of 2018. So I'm of the older, the old, you can say the older ARM format of 54, 55 and 56. Really, it was the one key takeaway that I, that I took from the ARM courses was that It really reflects my experience up to that point, in the sense that because of the few years that I had doing risk management, while I was studying for my courses, You know, the light bulb came on in, in, in terms of, oh, this is what I've been doing all these years, and this is what it means.
And this is how it looks like, you know, in terms of thinking of it from a risk management perspective. So that was, that was very, very exciting. And the hardest course back then, for me, what the assessments to do risk assessment and analysis that back then that was, that was the toughest one for me.
Yeah, the um, the last course, because I liked numbers and formulas that went back to the easy way.
Jenny: Yeah, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. Don't we, math would be a problem for me. So how long did it take you from beginning to end? Cause you were you, you, when you got the designation fairly quickly
Jacob: yes, I, I started October, 2018 on, I got it in August, 2019.
Jenny: Wow. That's awesome. Okay. Let's turn it to Miguel now. Um, I actually, I don't know anything about your ARM journey,
Miguel: Yeah. So, um, I actually completed the arm in 2018. Um, The journey started in, in, in 2017. And at the time I, I was halfway through with my, with the CPCU designation. I still have not completed that, but I I'm about halfway through. And um, I don't know. I just, I think I had this realization that, that I felt felt as though the ARM aligns much more closely with what risk managers do on a daily basis. So, um, I decided to sort of deviate from the CPCU and I haven't exactly decided when I'm going to go back to, to try and finish that. So, that's to be determined, but I guess I just saw the practical value in the ARM designation. And of course there there's tremendous value in terms of, of career development, professional development so I, like Jacob did it under the old system ARM 54, 55 and 56. And I think I did all three in about, about, about a year. And then I followed it up with the ARM P the
Jenny: Public entity.
Miguel: public entities piece of it as well. So I think I earned that the, the next, like three months after that. So.
Jenny: Wow. That's great. Well, I mean, I've, I've heard about, you know, folks getting the ARM since I started with URMIA in 2005, and I always just thought it was a wonderful designation, that it didn't have a continuing education component, you know, so you get it and then you have it, which is really nice.
But are there, are there other things that you guys try to do to stay, you know, up on your professional development. I mean, in addition to the URMIA conference that you all go to, is it, are there any other study groups or things that you guys do.
Nakeschi: we're not just URMIA, I'm a member of RIMS as well. So I would say while I haven't looked at the RIMS uh, CRM P designation, I do use a lot of their professional development. I think the other thing that um, has been very valuable is, is that. When I, and I have the old ARM materials, but I like, you know, in the new ARM books, they do talk about, you know, about alternative risk financing, which is really changing a lot.
And we as risk managers, I think we have to learn and think better, you know? You know, insurance buying it's changed. So we, we have to think about different ways. And I think what I've learned in 4 0 2 is they, they talk about some new options or some new alternative risk financing methods, like insurance link, securities, et cetera.
I look at that also, that's like a refresher. But that, those are just the other two other groups that I use for professional development.
Jacob: One thing that's great about being in the Boston area is the huge with a huge class centration of higher ed institutions. And I shouldn't just say Boston, but more Massachusetts, New England area. And with that comes a lot of collaboration among the different risk professional with different risk professionals in the area.
And so in addition to URMIA, there is the Boston consortium, which is a consortium of schools in the Boston area. And we do meet periodically to discuss best practices. Brandeis is part of a group within the consortium that purchases insurance together. And so that's more official. And unofficially there is another group called nerds. So we're very catchy name, New England.
Jenny: I heard about them.
Jacob: Yeah, exactly. New England Risk management Directors. Uh, I can't remember what the last acronym, but we do meet, I set up a meeting either this Friday or the Friday after, and we're done to discuss um, we honed in on, so that's more topic focused on a specific topic.
And I think our upcoming topic is going to be on youth programs and minors on capital. So that's how I stay up to date. And, oh, Miguel, just to also say that I am actually doing my CPCU right now and I'm working through the coursework to get the CPCU designation for that's another way of. up-to-date with my education. I find the CPCU to be very, very informative, particularly are more on the insurance side. I'm learning more about the way insurance policies work, how to read policies like that. The CPCU is great for that.
Miguel: uh, One thing like others mentioned um, you know, here in Arizona, we, we, we have a group that we, you know, we, we do collaborate frequently with our risk management partners at ASU and NAU. So that's kind of our tri-U group is what we, we call it.
And then we also have a pretty active PAC-12 group, right. That we, you know, many of them are URMIA members and active URMIA participants, but we try to meet on a monthly basis just to um, just to discuss trends. Talk about various topics. So that's, that's something uh, that's been helpful on the kind of professional development, continuing education side um, this past year I also earned the um, certified risk manager designation through the, the Alliance, I believe is the name of the, of the group. And, you know, I really enjoyed those courses. You know, they were different, different from the um, from the ARM in terms of how they're formatted. There were live teachers. Um, You could ask questions and I really just see a lot of value in, in, in both organizations and how they, how they um, approach these, these professional designation opportunities. So those are some, some things that I've been fortunate to participate in.
Jenny: Absolutely. They, when we look at our membership demographics, we have the largest number of ARMs in our membership. And then I think the CRMs are probably number two. And then the CPCU is number three. And then, I mean, a fair amount of people are getting the RIM certification too. I mean, there, there are just a lot of good options out there.
So, I think that's a, that's a wrap on talking about the ARM study group. I really appreciate you guys coming today. Being with me on the podcast, sharing your ARM journey. Um, Any closing comments or
Nakeschi: Um, So I will tell you with the way the exams have changed. Now you do need to study um, um, because it's online and because.
Nakeschi: I think you only have an hour and five minutes, so you need to understand and know the materials and be able to just go through and answer those questions. So I would definitely say it's not I can do it in a month.
Um, You definitely have to apply yourself and focus and really understand those concepts because they, those questions can definitely be tricky.
Jenny: Yeah, I appreciate that advice. And I did want to mention to all the URMIA members out there, that we are having another community conversation. On the ARM study groups. So people that are on their ARM journey, or, you know, just curious about the ARM, or even really other designations too. But we do offer the member benefit of, of uh, going to the, to Erike study group so it's a great thing that our members should take advantage of, but that will be on December 2nd at 2:00 PM Eastern it's in our events calendar. And we'd love to see more members involved in that, or we're trying to really reach out to, to folks during, especially I mean, while we're still working from home and it's a great time to study, like Nakeschi shared.
I mean, I think you can carve out some time, you know, you don't have to commute or a lot of us aren't commuting, like we used to. So please consider that URMIA members and thank you to Jacob, Nakeschi and Miguel for being my guests today, that'll be a wrap on URMIA matters.
Nakeschi: Thank you, Jenny.
Jacob: Thanks Jenny.
Miguel: Thank you.