A new program designed to attract and train blacks for sales and management postions in the insurance industry will begin this fall at Howard University.
Under the direction of visiting professor James Chastain, the program will "combine internship with study, and corelate the practical with the theoretical," said Dean Milton Wilson of the Howard School of Business.
Chastain, a former dean of the American Istitute for Property and Liability Underwriters, said his desire to establish such an insurance program began when "I was working with the Institute in the '60s, an it was disturbing to me that there were so few lacks (in the field). I began thinking that it would be good to establish a program in a traditionally black school."
A 1975 survey by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) showed that 216 fire and casualty employers, with more than 300,0000 employees, employed 22,657 blacks. Of these, 2 per cent were officials and managers, and 23.5 per cent service workers.
About a year ago, Chastain said, he began to look at traditionally black schools that might want to start an insurance education program. Impressed with Dean Wilson's work in getting Howard's School of Business accredited by the American Association of collegiate schools of Business, he decided to come to Washington.
At Howard since January, Chastain said he has been "doing the groundwork, visiting companies, talking with faculty and staff and with students about how they perceive what the program should do."
"We need scholarship money and the opportunity for the students to become involved in the business while in school, through internships, part-time jobs and cooperative employment where students are on campus one semester and at work the next," Chastain said.
Within a year, he said, it will be possible for a student to major in insurance at Howard, Chastain said. If the program goes as Chastain plans, students graduating with a major in insurance will have passed some professional examinations, CPCU or Charered Life Underwriter (CLU), and will have had two or three internships in various companies.
"These will make graduates more appealing to the companies," Chastain said, noting that "almost nothing we are doing is entirely new, but the way we're putting it together is different."
Chastain also said he hoped to begin recruiting high school students for the fall of 1978. "Insurance is big business in this country," Chastain said, explaining why more blacks should enter the field. "We are approaching spending 20 per cent of our annual income on insurance. There are about 2 million persons employed in the business. There are good jobs in the insurance business."