Burns & Wilcox prides itself on being known as the smartest MGA wholesaler and broker, as well as the largest, in North America. And Alan Kaufman, Chairman, CEO and President, wants to ensure that he has, and will continue to have, a workforce that can deliver on that brand promise.
Consistent with his own commitment to education, Kaufman supported the creation and development of the Kaufman Institute—the company’s corporate university. Primarily web-based, the Kaufman Institute provides a platform for delivering comprehensive education, training and development services to Burns & Wilcox insurance professionals. The company and the individual employee can both track participation and achievement as well as costs.
Constructed in three layers of offerings, at its base the Kaufman Institute offers more than 140 general business courses that range from basic business etiquette to managing branch profit and loss.
The first layer also has a comprehensive sales and marketing curricula and a number of personal development courses on topics such as time management. Additionally, employees are able to access over 300 digitized books and short videos featuring “best in class” business practices.
The second layer of programming is our strategic alliance with Kaplan Financial Education. Working with Kaplan, we now offer employees online insurance CE-credited courses for all states and electronic filing of the credits earned.
There are obvious benefits to having this required programming online 24 hours per day. Participants are able to save significantly on the cost of the classes and filings.
The third layer—the icing on the cake, so to speak—is the result of a partnership between Burns & Wilcox and Walsh College. Together we are building a Web-based, e-learning insurance studies program. The INS 21: Principles of Insurance class is being offered online for the first time this semester (and filled to capacity within 30 minutes of opening enrollment).
We intend to offer INS 22, INS 23, as well as the courses required for the surplus lines designations: ASLI 163 and ASLI 164.
All of the courses are offered through an approach called asynchronistic distance learning. Simply defined, this means that there is an instructor, assignments and quizzes but the instructor and the individual students do not need to be online simultaneously.
Students can access the course at their convenience during the week—each course runs 10 weeks—complete assignments, and get feedback from the instructor at times convenient for them. “School” can be scheduled around other primary commitments.
The Kaufman Institute makes us unique in our industry sector by providing:
- 24-hour daily access for employees in all of our branches
- A broad array of course offerings and delivery methods
- An insurance-specific focus
- The ability to track employee training and achievement
- A system to control and manage training costs
The Kaufman Institute provides reasonably-priced and convenient educational opportunities to insurance professionals. Future plans include expanding to create access for our preferred agents and brokers. The Kaufman Institute is dedicated to helping us live our brand promise—Burns & Wilcox is SMART. We are confident that the Kaufman Institute gives us the competitive edge in the marketplace.
Key to our future, it gives us an advantage in drawing top recruits to our workforce, and retaining them as highly-valued and valuable employees.