Faculty Spotlight on RMI’s Cassandra Cole

October 28, 2015

Title:  Department Chair, Robert L. Atkins Professor in Risk Management and Insurance and Director of the Master of Science in Risk Management and Insurance (MS-RMI) Program

Earned Ph.D. from:  Risk Management/Insurance, University of Georgia

Industry experience:  I had a number of internships and part-time jobs in the insurance industry. Before beginning graduate school, I worked for two years as a claims representative for State Farm Insurance Company.

Leadership service:  I chair the college’s Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Legal Studies and direct the MS-RMI program. In addition, I assist with some of the undergraduate major responsibilities, serve as an adviser for the Minority Business Society, chair the MS-RMI admissions committee and chair the University Insurance and Benefits Committee. I am also the co-editor of the Journal of Insurance Regulation, on the editorial board of several other journals and a past president of the Southern Risk and Insurance Association. 

Academic specialty:  I teach employee benefits to undergraduate and graduate students. 

Areas of expertise:  Retirement plans, retirement adequacy, insurance regulation and corporate governance

These areas interest me because: Whether it’s exploring the decisions a business make as it relates to retirement plans or the operational choices of insurance companies, much of my research focuses on providing answers to ‘why’ questions. I have always been a naturally inquisitive person, and through my research, I am able to satisfy my own curiosity. 

Most recently published: I have co-authored the following journal articles published this year: “Market Structure and the Performance of the U.S. Health Insurance Marketplace: A State-Level Analysis,” Journal of Insurance Regulation; “The Effect of Multidimensional Product Operational Strategies on the Performance of Health Insurance Conglomerates,” Applied Economics; “Demographic Factors and Price Distortions in Insurance,” Risk Management and Insurance Review; and “The Impact of Insurer Name Changes on the Demand for Insurance,” Journal of Risk and Insurance.

The practical implications of my research:  New insights into business operations is of interest to other academics, as well as regulators and other stakeholders, because they can impact the financial health of companies and, ultimately, employment decisions, as well as the availability and price of products.

Why students should consider the risk management and insurance field:  Risk touches all of our lives, impacting individuals, business and society in general. Without risk management and insurance, it would be difficult for businesses to function effectively and governments to operate. In addition, the field offers diverse career opportunities, and there is a strong and consistent need for talented individuals, as evidenced by our graduates’ consistently high placement rate.

Why business alumni should consider an RMI master’s degree: Our fully online program is designed to meet the needs of professionals interested in furthering their education while remaining active in the workforce. You don’t necessarily need an industry background to be successful in the program. The goal of the program is to produce the next generation of leaders in an industry that is virtually recession-proof and expected to experience a talent gap in the near future.

I appreciate COB alumni involvement because:  Active involvement of alumni provides a number of benefits, such as financial support for the college and mentoring and employment opportunities for students.

Building Legacy Hall is important because: The world is constantly changing, and it is important that educational institutions change with it. Having a state-of-the-art facility will provide the necessary environment to meet the needs of our students and faculty and help us maintain our standing as a preeminent university.