Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) courses have been offered at The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business since 1921, when Dr. Lee Bidgood, first dean of the college, taught the first insurance course. This anniversary celebrates the centennial of this important innovation and provides a historic perspective on the individuals and events that have given the program worldwide recognition.
The program was significantly broadened in 2006, with the establishment of an Actuarial Science (AS) specialty. In 2019, Culverhouse began offering minors in the areas of RMI and AS. The AS minor is an integral part of the offerings to students who want to study the management of risk. However, since AS education represents a separate branch of the risk management tree, this booklet focuses on RMI, reflecting the historical heritage of the program, and its roots in insurance education.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Culverhouse College of Business undergraduate business program is ranked among the top three to four percent of public business schools in the nation. The college’s RMI program, which has been recognized internationally as a Global Center of Insurance Excellence, is housed within the Economics, Finance, and Legal Studies Department. The Insurance Hall of Fame Museum and Portrait Gallery are located at The University of Alabama, providing additional recognition for the program, as is the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research, which is one of the college’s research centers of distinction.
It is only natural that a distinguished institution like The University of Alabama should have a strong RMI program. It is widely recognized that a modern economy could not exist without insurance and other techniques of risk management. For example, capital markets will not provide resources to build skyscrapers, telecommunications facilities, assembly plants, or other productive facilities if they are not insured. Furthermore, the role of risk management becomes increasingly important in a society where catastrophic losses have become more commonplace, as is the case in the United States.
Every individual and business face risks, and RMI students learn how to manage those risks, whether they be property loss, liability exposure, premature death, loss of health, or outliving one’s income. Risk management is an essential part of business education. In addition, the institutions that handle risks (e.g., insurance companies, pension funds, sureties, etc.) supply necessary capital, employment opportunities to benefit society, and much more.
It is important to recognize that the RMI/AS program has been the beneficiary of thousands of gifts. Friends and supporters have contributed time, effort, and funds to produce the program we have today. We wish to express our appreciation for these gifts and to say that we wish we could acknowledge all of them in this booklet. Many of them are recognized in plaques and documents found at the school. While it is not possible to name every donor, we hope that this booklet and the program serve as testaments to their generosity.
The University of Alabama is a place “Where Legends Are Made.” As we trace the development of RMI education at the university, it will become clear that legends have been made through The University of Alabama’s RMI program.
The EFLS Department and RMIAS Program would like to recognize and thank the Centennial Committee for all their hard work.