2022 Annual Conference Student Scholar Reflection: Jennifer Calandra

Jennifer Calandra
Insurance and Risk Management and Management Information Systems Major, University of Houston-Downtown
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Some benefits of being a scholarship recipient of the Public Risk Insurance Management Association (PRIMA) 2022 conference in San Antonio was learning something new, reinforcing best practices and promoting a deeper understanding of public risks. Dalene Bartholomew CFE, CIFI, an insurance fraud specialist and a vice president of VRC Investigations, was one of the speakers at the conference. She is a certified fraud examiner, investigative training expert, and one of the authors of Paying a Premium for Crime. She spoke about fictional events where people lied in hopes of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. She taught me about insurance detective work, fraud trends and involving worker's compensation claims and the outcome. Also, I met with the representative from Fraudsniffr, an investigation company for insurance and defense professionals. The representative said never rely on experts; at the end of the day, whoever tells the better or more convincing story will win the litigation. He said examining social media is a cost-effective defense. The company retrieves visual evidence and metadata from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, combines physical surveillance data with social media and tracks the location with mobile phone data to detail activity. I never considered insurance detective work until attending the PRIMA conference.

Another session I attended was the State of the Market -2022 by Lauren Tredinnick, president, Public Entity Risk Solutions for Munich Re Specialty Insurance. She discussed the U.S. property and casualty market trends and their impact on public entities like supply chain disruption, record-high inflation, and the great resignation from Covid-19. She said property trends and renewal expectations are reduced capacity, increased deductibles, and rates. Also, she said, there is pressure on underwriting decisions. She said lower investment income due to low-interest rates puts pressure on underwriting decisions across the industry. The most significant trend to watch is wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and climate change, like the 2021 winter storm in Texas, which brought an above-average year of natural catastrophe activity.

Moreover, the conference broadened my network to include municipalities and cohorts from different universities.  We enjoyed site seeing in San Antonio.  Below are some of my favorite pictures on the San Antonio River Walk.  The Casino Club Building is next to Tilman Fertitta’s Salt Grass Steakhouse.

I enjoyed my mentors, Dan Hurley with the City of Chesapeake, Donna Capri, the Risk and Insurance Coordinator of WaterOne in Kansas, and Taquan Gilbert with PRIMA. The conference connected my ideas, and the network could help with the International Switch Energy Case Competition in Fall 2022. Furthermore, the conference included many facets of risk management and helped me better clarify my future in the field. I am very grateful that PRIMA chose me as a recipient of their national conference scholarship, and I look forward to the PRIMA conference 2023.

*The views and opinions expressed in the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) blogs are those of each respective author. The views and opinions do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRIMA.*

By: Jennifer Calandra
Insurance and Risk Management and Management Information Systems Major, University of Houston-Downtown

Jennifer has a background in finance and has worked in the healthcare insurance, automotive banking, and sustainability industry. She attends the Marilyn Davies College of Business of the University of Houston–Downtown (UHD), where she is a double major in insurance & risk management and management information systems. She is also a minor in supply chain management with a cumulative GPA of 3.67. Jennifer is the president of the Switch Energy Club at UHD. There are a number of reasons why she decided to pursue a career in the risk management and insurance industry, primarily being the diversity of evolving risks and possible solution. She is drawn to the surplus industry as it fits her risk assessment and critical thinking capabilities, as well as her interest in emerging technologies.

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