Since joining the Social Science Scholars program, I’ve felt encouraged to pursue a variety of academic and professional endeavors. First, I began by immersing myself in corporate America, interning at Lockton Companies, outside of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Lockton is the world’s largest privately owned insurance brokerage and focuses on providing insurance, risk management, employee benefits and retirement services for mid to large size companies. For ten weeks, I served as an account analyst, working on several projects.
This experience was incredibly unique and beyond what I had anticipated it would be. I spent a majority of my time working within the Employee Benefits division where I gained a vast understanding of the health insurance industry in the US. Although, it may not sound like the most exciting topic to work on for an entire Summer, I found going to work every day would be an opportunity to learn something new. That’s due to the various projects I would work on. For example, Lockton provides their clients with information about the overall health of a company, and as a result, what can be done to make everyone healthier and lower their group insurance rate. For one of Lockton’s Florida clients, I was given the opportunity to work with Tobacco Free Florida and help develop a tobacco cessation program for this client. As a policy wonk, I would see direct public policy implications in every bit of work I did. This is largely in part because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which drives every aspect of the health insurance industry. For me, following along the news that the US House of Representatives had repealed the Cadillac Tax, a key funding mechanism of the ACA, while also working with clients who were directly effected, it was a very rewarding experience.
I also had the opportunity to work within other divisions of Lockton. What stood out to me the most was working within the Financial Services division, where they primarily focus on professional lines of insurance coverage, such as Directors & Officers Liability coverage, which serves to protect board members of companies, should they be named in a lawsuit. A very interesting aspect of this coverage is that because of an increased number of litigation resulting from social movements, such as, the #Metoo movement, many insurance companies are moving to be more risk averse in this area, and as a result, many clients have seen their annual premium renewals increase by 20%, 30% and in some cases even, 50% increases, which becomes cost prohibitive for some companies. Lockton’s role is to help its client navigate these changes and find viable solutions.
As an Interdisciplinary Social Science major, my course work focuses on the understanding that our world’s problems and solutions requires the integration of multiple disciplines. My experience over the summer truly highlighted that. Initially, my expectation of the corporate world was that I would merely be at a desk transcribing meeting notes, or other menial intern work. But it was much more than that. I was able to see the lessons we learned in our Social Science Scholar seminar and apply them on a daily basis. I could not be more thankful to Dr. Mayo and Dr. Taylor, the FSU Foundation, and my social science scholar peers, for the opportunity and inspiration to keep reaching for more. And though, I haven’t found the definite solution for solving our nation’s healthcare crisis, I have a better understanding of the contributing factors to that crisis, and hope one day to lead the effort, engaging all stakeholders, private and public, to solve it.
Ricardo Zamarripa is majoring in interdisciplinary social sciences with a concentration in public policy and risk management.