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Fall Update

At SPS this fall, all courses, other than pre-established online courses, will be offered face-to-face in our New York City classrooms. Some of these face-to-face courses will be offered in the HyFlex format to ensure that all of our students can make progress toward their degree requirements, if faced with delays due to student visas or vaccination effectiveness wait times.
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Samara Freimark: The Rising Generation of Insurance Industry Leaders

Samara Freimark is a Senior Vice President for Global Services and Solution Corporate Risk and Broking at the global financial services firm Willis Towers Watson. A recipient of the Spencer Scholarship, Freimark is among the inaugural cohort of students in the new M.P.S. in Insurance Management program. She recently discussed the skills she hopes to gain from the program, embracing virtual networking and the coming generational change in the insurance industry.

Tell me about your role at Willis Towers Watson.

As a Senior Vice President in the Global Services and Solution Corporate Risk and Broking (GSS CRB) team at Willis Towers Watson, my ultimate responsibility is to design, execute and manage global insurance solutions that protect the client’s overseas risks.

What are some of the most complex challenges your clients face? Are there specific areas that you plan to gain a deeper understanding of in order to deliver advice and solutions to your clients?

I handle complex accounts that have frequent loss activity, which can be challenging. I look forward to enhancing my data analytic skills and knowledge of the claims management process. 

What drew you to apply to Columbia's Insurance Management master's program? What was the deciding factor in your decision to enroll for the fall?

I have a desire to expand my knowledge base and broaden my skill set. As a renowned institution, Columbia’s Insurance Management master’s program will provide the opportunity to learn from seasoned industry leaders, which will assist in strengthening my critical thinking and financial analytic capabilities.

A key factor in my decision to enroll this fall is that I could not pass up the opportunity of being part of the inaugural class.

As you know, this degree is almost completely online. How do you plan to maximize the networking and learning opportunities on the virtual platform?

An online platform allows for the ability to network with peers, faculty and industry leaders around the world. We have all become more adept at interacting in virtual settings during this pandemic.

I will take full opportunity of the settings to enhance networking and learning opportunities.

Based on your observations, how is this industry changing? What kinds of professionals are needed in the future? 

A trend I see beginning to drive change in the insurance industry is the retirement of baby boomers. Client executives on the broker side often have over 20 years of relationships with their clients. Many of these individuals are at or approaching retirement. Transition to new relationships can be difficult. At the same time, it creates opportunities for all involved parties. It allows the firm to develop and promote the next generation of leadership. It enables the client to benefit from new creative approaches and thinking.  

Professionals that demonstrate integrity and curiosity are needed in the future. A team with employees who are honest and have strong moral principles builds trust, which is a key ingredient to success. Asking questions and challenging the status quo encourages teams to push the envelope in arriving at new creative products and solutions.

Learn more about Columbia University’s master’s in Insurance Management.