Supporting the next generation of workers and building future leaders

June 23, 2023

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The need to attract young talent to the risk management and insurance profession is critical. Scholarship programs are one way to help build that talent pipeline. While Sedgwick has long been a supporter of rising talent in the industry, the Sedgwick/Steven E. Penman Memorial Scholarship, presented by the Spencer Educational Foundation, is particularly special. Steve Penman spent his 40-year career at Sedgwick growing as an individual and improving the claims industry. This scholarship honors his legacy by supporting others as they prepare for bright futures and develop in their careers.

Like many of my generation, I did not initially choose a career path in risk management. It wasn’t until a few years in that I fell in love with the industry and what it had to offer. That’s what makes new generations so unique — they consciously chose the field, are coming in with fresh ideas and new mindsets, and have what it takes to continue to progress and improve the industry.

We are excited to award this year’s scholarship to Daniel Polites, a junior working towards an undergrad degree in actuarial science and statistics at University of Illinois.

A conversation with this year’s scholarship recipient, Daniel Polites

What drew you to this industry?

I enjoy digging deeply into the quantitative aspects of the industry, which is why I pursued statistics. My actuarial science major also gives me a chance to gain exposure to the finance, communication and business sides of things. Risks affect everyone, and the ability to mitigate harm is what spiked my interest in the field.

What advice would you share with future students?

Don’t neglect the soft skills. Some students may be told to “grow a quantitative skillset and build the soft skills later.” A change I would like to encourage is to flip that paradigm, to emphasize the importance of communicating risks. Yes, we’re studying and developing concepts, but that also requires us to communicate those concepts to others.

What would you tell those considering pursuing a career in risk management and insurance profession? Who might be a good fit?

If you’re interested in math, the risk management and insurance profession is a fantastic choice. However, you may still need to converse with people so it’s important to utilize and lean into leadership and people skills. If you prefer to sit behind a desk crunching numbers all day, you can certainly excel doing that. If you’re the type of person, like me, who loves math but wants to connect with people on a regular basis, there is flexibility in this career to do just that.

What are some industry trends you’ve observed?

From my perspective, there are significant developments in the cyber space on the horizon. Trends in social inflation, and general inflation are also on my mind. As I started paying attention to risk management, I began to notice cycles of emerging trends and risks. Though we may not know exactly what we’ll be paying attention to 10 years from now, we can always learn from history and patterns.

Where do you hope to be five years from now?

I’m pursuing the casualty actuarial society and have a handful of exams left on that front, fingers crossed I’ll have those finished. Second, my goal is to be employed by a property casualty insurance company. I hope to gain as much experience as possible, as broadly as possible (within the property casualty field), to understand what I want to do next. This scholarship has given me the opportunity to continue cementing that knowledge and make the most out of my remaining education before heading out into the “real world,” where I’ll apply everything I’ve learned.

It’s no secret that a growing number of people in risk management are retiring, and we need passionate, qualified people to follow in their footsteps and make a positive impact.

Learn more > Visit our careers page.