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News and Events

Gies Business, AXIS renew partnership to attract students, support insurance research

May 4, 2022, 09:52 by Aaron Bennett
Gies Business and AXIS Capital Holdings Limited have renewed their partnership agreement, in which AXIS will contribute $1 million to help attract more students to the (re)insurance industry, teach them about risk management, and fund leading-edge faculty research that can support the field.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (May 4, 2022) -- Gies College of Business and specialty insurer and global reinsurer AXIS Capital Holdings Limited (“AXIS Capital”) announced today that they have renewed their partnership agreement. As part of the relationship, AXIS will contribute $1 million over the course of four years to develop programs to help attract more students from across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus to the (re)insurance industry, teach them about risk management, and fund leading-edge faculty research that can support the field.

“We’re so proud to extend this partnership with AXIS, a company that stands for leadership and excellence in risk management,” said Jeffrey R. Brown, Dean of the Gies College of Business. “Their continued support helps us better prepare our students with invaluable opportunities and experiences in this industry. It also enables our top faculty to research the industry’s most pressing issues and develop solutions that can make an immediate impact.”

Over the next several years, Gies College of Business will work to further expand its risk management opportunities and research to be even more collaborative across campus. Gies’ Office of Risk Management and Insurance Research (ORMIR) leads that effort, guiding and encouraging research that is translatable, practical, and applicable. To date, the investment from AXIS has supported this important research from top faculty at Gies Business, The Grainger College of Engineering, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Current research underway includes a number of climate-change related areas, such as assessing the vulnerability of existing buildings to wind damage, creating a building database for determining natural disaster risk, studying tipping points for temperature extremes, understanding climate variability and developing tools to improve seasonal predictions, and using machine learning to reduce the time involved in infrastructure risk assessment. 

“Risk doesn’t stand still, and neither do we,” said Lynne McChristian, senior instructor of finance and director of ORMIR. “Partners such as AXIS help the University of Illinois continue its impactful research momentum, which helps equip organizations to face uncertainty. AXIS is making a difference by contributing to work that helps us all be better prepared and, in turn, better able to bounce back from adverse events.”

The agreement also extends naming rights for the AXIS Risk Management Academy, which was established in 2017 and provides students who are interested in pursuing a career in risk management with professional development resources and experiences to support their undergraduate work. All 45 students involved this semester are matched with a mentor who is an industry professional. The Academy, which doubled in size in Spring 2022, is housed in the Department of Finance at Gies College of Business.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the University of Illinois. The current risk landscape is constantly changing and to keep up, investing in talent and research is critical,” said Conrad Brooks, AXIS General Counsel and Executive Committee Sponsor for the AXIS Corporate Citizenship program which drives the Company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. “Issues related to climate change, for example, are a shared priority of the University, ORMIR, the Academy and AXIS and our partnership provides us with tools, resources and expertise to better understand the impact of climate change on our industry, which in turn informs our underwriting, investment and operating strategies.”  

In addition to supporting research and attracting students to this important industry, the partnership between Gies and AXIS promotes educational events for industry leaders such as symposia and webinars – including one upcoming virtual event.

About AXIS
AXIS Capital, through its operating subsidiaries, is a global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance with shareholders' equity of $5.1 billion at March 31, 2022, and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore and Canada. Its operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of "A+" ("Strong") by Standard & Poor's and "A" ("Excellent") by A.M. Best. For more information about AXIS Capital, visit our website at Follow AXIS Capital on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Gies College of Business
For more than 100 years, Gies College of Business has intentionally designed its innovative programs, leading-edge curriculum, and experiential learning opportunities to empower and prepare students to turn big ideas into meaningful actions. Today, Gies faculty prepare more than 9,000 future business leaders, including 3,100 undergraduates, from around the world to put their purpose into practice and provide transformative leadership in a global economy.