The Insurance International Markets class typically travels to either Bermuda or London on any given year to supplement their classroom learning on the placement of insurance on the global level. The course has benefitted from speakers in London sharing their experiences through early morning Zoom meetings, as well as those from Bermuda later in the day.
The class was able to take their international educational experience one step further through the use of virtual reality headsets with faculty instructor Dr. David Marlett and Brantley Center Assistant Director, Lacy Schmidt, acting as tour guides. Students “walked” through the finance districts of the two global insurance hubs, stopping to take in landmark sights like Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda and Windsor Palace of London.
Dr. Marlett hopes that these tours will benefit the students in a tangible way down the line; “Many of these students are graduating and moving on to full-time positions with insurance organizations that have international operations. Most likely these students will travel to these destinations at some point in their career and feel far more comfortable and confident doing so because of this experience. From a teaching perspective, this really opened my eyes to the educational possibilities using virtual reality.” The Brantley Risk & Insurance Center hopes students will be able to return to the international experience in 2022, which is an almost entirely subsidized experience for high-achieving Appalachian State insurance students to be able to gain experiential, international learning.
Jennifer Evans, a graduating senior and incoming Underwriter Trainee at Key Risk, had never used virtual reality before the International Markets course; “I didn’t know what to expect. The VR Bermuda Tour was unlike anything I had ever encountered and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dr. David Marlett and Lacy Schmidt wanted us all to have a special experience related to traveling, before we graduated and they delivered.
Walter Lowe, a graduating senior and rising Underwriter at Beazley, felt that the virtual opportunities have been a really helpful alternative to travel, "It has opened the door to allow students to experience monumental places in our field from the comfort of our homes.”
Baylee O’Connor, an incoming Production Associate at RT Specialty, stated, "Although the circumstances we dealt with during this class were not ideal in terms of traveling to Bermuda, Dr. Marlett, Lacy, and the Brantley Center made it one of the most enjoyable courses I have taken. Since we weren't allowed to physically travel, Dr. Marlett and Lacy came up with the next best thing - Virtual Reality travel!” Baylee never thought that it would feel as if she was really in Bermuda and London, but it surpassed her expectations. She said that getting to learn about international insurance markets by "traveling" to both insurance hubs is an experience she is extremely grateful for and is sure to never forget.