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Oct 7, 2022 2022-10 Faculty Finance Research in Education

Funding from global (re)insurer, AXIS Capital, supports four new faculty projects

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has selected four faculty scholars for the 2022-2023 academic year to advance academic research on risk management and preparedness. Faculty scholars were announced by the University’s Office of Risk Management & Insurance Research (ORMIR) within Gies College of Business. These outstanding researchers represent various colleges across the UIUC campus and are indicative of its world-class strengths in risk research, risk management, and risk assessment. Faculty scholars are funded by AXIS Capital (AXIS), an international specialty insurer and reinsurer.

The four ORMIR scholars for 2022-2023 include:

  • Nicolas Martin, assistant professor, Crop Science
  • Bruce Sherrick, professor, Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • Qiping Xu, assistant professor of finance, Gies College of Business
  • Shelly Zhang, assistant professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research projects undertaken by these faculty scholars include developing high-resolution crop indemnity datasets to better identify risk factors; providing an in-use ratings system to better evaluate crop insurance exposure; studying the triggers and consequences of pollutive asset divestitures and the effectiveness of these divestments in reducing pollution and climate risks; and establishing a risk-based digital twin model to real-time risk assessment of civil infrastructure under evolving environments.

“Among today’s challenges is an imperative to keep up with the speed of risk. That means organizations must amp up their preparedness to better manage uncertainty,” said ORMIR Director Lynne McChristian. “Since 2019, ORMIR has funded 18 risk-related research projects with support from AXIS. This important work is helping businesses and individuals manage their strategic risks while helping to build resiliency after disruption.”

The Office of Risk Management and Insurance Research, which is housed in the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, was established to design research on critical issues facing the insurance industry and to engage students seeking careers in risk management and (re)insurance.

“Our purpose as insurers and reinsurers is to mitigate risk. To do so efficiently and effectively, we must continue to invest in tools and research that can help us understand – and therefore underwrite – the complex risks we face today,” said Conrad Brooks, General Counsel at AXIS and Executive Committee Sponsor of the AXIS Corporate Citizenship Program. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the UI ORMIR in advancing research on topics like environmental and agricultural risks.”

In 2022, AXIS renewed its support for ORMIR with an additional four-year gift totaling $1 million. AXIS is a top specialty insurer and reinsurer defined by its expertise in navigating complex risks, underwriting excellence, and superior client service. In 2018, the Company pledged $1.5 million over the course of five years to launch the AXIS Risk Management Academy at UIUC, a program that provides students interested in pursuing a career in risk management with professional development resources and experiences to support their undergraduate work.