When COVID-19 hit, not only did it wreak havoc on the job market, but on internship programs as well. Thousands of programs were terminated, as organizations scrambled to adjust to the pandemic and remote workforce. AAIS was one organization that kept its internship programs humming along remotely. Its commitment to continuing its quality internship program earned AAIS recognition when it was named to the Rising Insurance Star Executives (RISE) list of Elite 50 Internships.
RISE strives to “create a platform where young insurance professionals are recognized for their accomplishments in the industry, can learn about new industry technologies and practices and are encouraged to engage with industry mentors and peers,” (riseprofessionals.com). Its annual list of Elite 50 Internships identifies the 50 best insurance internship programs across the United States.
“AAIS is devoted to cultivating the insurance industry’s next generation of talent and leadership,” said Ed Kelly, President & CEO of AAIS, which hires upwards of 15 interns each year for a variety of departments: Marketing and Communications; Personal Lines; Data and Actuarial; Government Affairs, Legal & Compliance; and more. “We offer a students from across the country an opportunity to gain valuable, real-world experience in a number of risk and insurance-related disciplines.
At AAIS, employees follow an Agile approach to project management, a methodology that places heavy emphasis on collaboration and cross-training. Interns spend their summer exploring AAIS’s unique approach to Advisory Solutions, attending sessions focused on different areas of the organization, learning how a business runs and witnessing firsthand what a tight knit, collaborative community can achieve. Interns also spent each week participating in Toastmasters International, a nonprofit organization that helps people grow in their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Interns prepared speeches, met with mentors, and were able to strengthen their skills at every meeting.
When asked about their experiences as AAIS Interns, Kelsey Liss (GLC), Brody Haynes (Actuarial), and Jeremy Cardenas (Personal Lines), and Madeline Lorch (Marketing and Communications) were quick to praise the experience.
Ms. Liss stated that, “Working at AAIS, you end everyday feeling as though you have done meaningful and significant work. AAIS is full of exceptionally talented individuals, and as an Intern, you are treated with respect and are seen as a professional member of the company.”
Mr. Cardenas and Mr. Haynes would agree. Mr. Cardenas stated, “Everyone in the company makes me feel included and goes out of their way to make sure I understand everything and that I am recognized as a valuable asset to the team. Furthermore, I am given tasks and projects that directly help the company.” Mr. Haynes added that, “AAIS really cares about its interns and they show this in many ways, such as including us in company events/meetings, giving us GrubHub gift cards so we can eat lunch together, and setting time aside for Toastmasters.
Ms. Lorch stated that, “AAIS’s internship program is unlike any others I’ve come across. At AAIS, my mentors have allowed me to choose what I want to do; what skills I want to strengthen, and what areas of Marketing and Communication I would like to explore.”
The AAIS interns have been able to complete countless tasks that directly benefit the organization. Mr. Haynes’ favorite project so far has been creating rating tables for AAIS’s Homeowners line. Ms. Lorch’s favorite project has been “writing for the blog (AAIS Views) and helping to kickstart new AAIS programs such as AAIS University and AAIS Pulse!”
The four interns began in Summer of 2020, stayed on for the Fall semester, and will continue into the Spring. Balancing school and work has been made easier, as AAIS “lets us work as much or as little as we can while we are in the middle of our semesters”, according to Mr. Haynes.
AAIS works hard to ensure that its intern program cultivates the professionals the insurance industry needs, through making interns a part of the team and treating them as equals. When asked about how this internship has benefited her, Ms. Lorch responded, “I’ve learned so much more than I ever could have imagined; my skillset and resume have grown so much during my nine months here!”
When told about the RISE Internship Award, the AAIS interns couldn’t have been more excited, they weren’t surprised however, “I couldn’t imagine interning for a better place,” Ms. Lorch said.
To learn more about AAIS and to inquire about its internship opportunities, contact HR Director Karen Sheridan at karens@AAISonline.com.