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Breaking new ground in insurance education

A generous gift from Dr. Hold and The National Alliance supports Florida State's top-ranked program

By Elisabeth Boone, CPCU

It's common for successful alumni of colleges and universities to show their appreciation by making donations to support the mission and initiatives of their alma mater.

Earlier this year, the College of Business at Florida State University received a generous pledge from a grateful alumnus who is renowned for his dedication to excellence in insurance education.

The $5 million pledge was made by Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, and the organization he co-founded in 1969: The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. The gift will be funded by Dr. Hold, individual contributors, and special advertisements in The National Alliance's Resources magazine.

The National Alliance and Dr. Hold have long supported insurance education opportunities at FSU, where Dr. Hold earned his bachelor's degree in 1963. He went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin, and he credits the interest and support of the FSU business school faculty for encouraging him to pursue graduate studies.

The top-ranked RMI program will now be known as the Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance. The program provides students educational and research opportunities in enterprise risk management, property/casualty and life/health insurer operations and products, financial planning, and employee benefits.

At a ceremony in Tallahassee to announce the gift, Dr. Hold outlined ways in which it will help his alma mater build on the success of the RMI program. One of the oldest and largest such programs in the country, the FSU program is ranked among the nation's top 10 undergraduate programs by U.S. News & World Report.

"The naming and combined resources of Florida State University and The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research will result in a stronger and broader academic and business framework on which to continue to build more meaningful and unique educational programs for both the academic and business communities," Dr. Hold said. "The result will be more valuable programs for all those who participate and for those they serve."

At the ceremony, Dr. Garnett Stokes, FSU's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, explained that the gift launches "The Risk Initiative," a campaign to expand the university's leadership role in a number of academic fields that involve risk.

Caryn Beck-Dudley, JD, dean of the FSU College of Business, remarked: "In essence, the new initiative will provide leadership to solve the emerging risks confronting individuals, organizations, industry, and society."

Hall of Fame honor

Just one month after the announcement of the generous pledge made by Dr. Hold and The National Alliance, Dr. Hold was inducted into the Florida State University College of Business 2012 Hall of Fame. He joins other prominent alumni whom the college has honored for embodying "the qualities that make the College of Business an extraordinary place to learn and grow," according to a statement from the college.

Dr. Hold has promoted opportunities at FSU in conjunction with The National Alliance, which also provides scholarships for students in the Risk Management and Insurance program, as well as professional development opportunities and other financial support. Through Dr. Hold's efforts, FSU students were among the first to earn the University Associate Certified Risk Manager and University Associate Certified Insurance Counselor designations.

In a nomination letter on Dr. Hold's behalf, fellow College of Business graduate Bruce McCreadie, CIC, AAI, CPIA, spoke of the value of these and other National Alliance designations and cited Dr. Hold's leadership role in the advancement of professional insurance education.

"The impact Bill Hold has had on the insurance industry over the past 40 years cannot be overstated," McCreadie wrote. He went on to point to the "thousands of people who have had a richer and more successful career due in part to the educational and professional development opportunities that Bill and his organization provided."

Leader and innovator

Since earning a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1967, Dr. Hold has devoted his entire career to the field of insurance education. He held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas and was responsible for the insurance and risk management program at the UT graduate school of business.

Before co-founding The National Alliance in 1969, Dr. Hold served as vice president of the National Association of Independent Insurers. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on insurance and risk management-related topics, and he has served as a consultant to the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Texas State Board of Insurance.

For six years in a row, Dr. Hold has been named to the Insurance Newscast's annual list of the "100 Most Powerful People in the Insurance Industry." In 2011 he was honored with the Henry C. Martin Award for Industry Achievement, which is named for the founder of The Rough Notes Company.

The initial offering of The National Alliance, introduced in 1969, was the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation program, which is noted for its focus on practical, real-world education. The CIC program is taught in a series of five institutes: personal lines, commercial casualty, commercial property, life and health, and agency management. The institutes are held in several locations around the country each year, as are the continuing education sessions that CICs must attend annually to maintain the designation.

Under Dr. Hold's leadership, The National Alliance has substantially expanded in both its reach and its curriculum. Today it offers more than 2,500 programs and draws more than 146,000 participants each year from around the country. In addition to CIC, The National Alliance offers the Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR), Certified Risk Manager (CRM), and Certified School Risk Manager (CSRM) programs, as well as a variety of specialty courses.

Designees are eligible to attend seminars in the Founders Series, which is named in tribute to Dr. Hold and the late James K. Ruble, CIC, a co-founder of CIC. The intensive one- and two-day seminars are offered around the country and address a wide range of advanced and specialty topics in insurance and risk management.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Hold is a frequent flyer who travels the United States to lead seminars for CISR designees who seek advanced knowledge of personal, commercial, and multiple lines topics.

Intense, passionate, and possessed of a dry, self-deprecating wit, Dr. William T. Hold is his own personal power plant. If you, like the rest of us, are impressed with what this dedicated educator has achieved over the last four and a half decades, it's safe to say (with apologies to the grammar police): "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" (And don't "hold" your breath waiting for an invitation to "The Doc's" retirement party.)


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