TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As the first full month of classes draws to a close at The University of Alabama, two new hires in the Culverhouse College of Commerce have settled into their roles. Dr. George Zanjani, ACAS and Dr. Daniel Bauer joined the college’s Insurance & Financial Services, Risk Management, and Actuarial Science (IRMAS) program over the summer.
Bauer and Zanjani bring with them more than 30 entries in academic publications, and the intent to continue to grow their scholarly literature. Their addition to Culverhouse is part of an ongoing strategic plan to grow and improve the college for years to come.
Prior to joining the university, Zanjani served as the inaugural holder of the AAMGA Distinguished Chair in Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) and an associate professor in the RMI Department of Georgia State University (GSU). He served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for eight years, specializing in policy work relating to insurance issues in the broader financial system.
“I have a lot to be excited about in joining the IRMAS program,” said Zanjani. “Most importantly, I think Bill Rabel, Robert McLeod, Lars Powell, Harris Schlesinger and the other faculty and staff involved with insurance education and research at Culverhouse have built an incredible foundation for success at Culverhouse.”
Zanjani fills the position of Frank Park Samford Chair of Insurance, which was previously held by Harris Schlesinger, who passed away in 2015. The Chair of Insurance is named in memory of Frank Park Samford Sr., a member of the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame and the namesake of Samford University.
Bauer has also worked at Georgia State University before making the transition to UA. He held the position of Batten Chair in Actuarial Science and Director of GSU’s Master of Mathematical Risk Management program. Additionally, Bauer taught actuarial science, statistics/analytics, and quantitative methods in finance in the Risk Management and Insurance Department at the Robinson College of Business at GSU.
“With UA’s legacy in insurance education and research…I believe UA has the potential to become one of the global hubs for insurance-related research,” said Bauer. “I am very excited to be a part of this.”
Bauer has been appointed the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Endowed Chair in Actuarial Science and Risk Management. This chair is in honor of Tsuneta Yano, the founder of Dai-ichi Life. Bauer is the first to hold this title.
Bauer and Zanjani’s addition to the department brings with it new ideas and experience.
“With myself and Daniel Bauer joining the faculty, I think we have an excellent opportunity to build on the foundation set before us,” said Zanjani. “For example, in the actuarial space, the revolution in “Big Data” and analytics is expanding opportunities for actuaries to add value, and we will strive to prepare our students for this new world.”
Additionally, their added enthusiasm has the potential to invigorate students to start their own research.
“The students are motivated and extremely smart—and based on my experience in the first weeks, there seems to be a lot of interest in actuarial science,” said Bauer. “With the support of the college administration, I believe we can develop a world-class program.”
The IRMAS program educates students on how risks are managed and financed. The program is provided through the Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies. The curriculum includes traditional classroom instruction as well as opportunities for professional development within the industry.
The IRMAS program works with numerous departments within Culverhouse. The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research (ACIIR), which provides highly credible information and research insight for the benefit key stakeholders across the State of Alabama, and IRMAS partners on many projects including the upcoming Alabama Insurance Day held at the Bryant Conference Center on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
“George and Daniel are both excellent teachers and researchers,” said Lars Powell, Director of ACIIR. “It is not exaggerating to say they are among the best insurance minds anywhere. Having access to their expertise will expand ACIIR’s capabilities.”