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    Career Opportunities in the Iowa Insurance Industry

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    5 pagesThe Iowa insurance industry is an economic powerhouse, creating an $8.9 billion impact in the Des Moines – West Des Moines MSA alone. The industry’s scale has spawned two start-up accelerators focused on insurtech, each with a global reach. The Iowa workforce has experienced twenty-five percent growth since 2000. Insurance carriers are attractive employers exhibited through a high level of compensation, wage growth at a rate above the national average, and a suite of employee benefits that are generous, flexible, and well-aligned with the desires of generation Z. Over the next decade, nearly twenty percent of the workforce will reach retirement age. This retirement wave will create rapid advancement opportunities for younger employees, especially those with skills in technology, data analytics, distribution, and product development. The demand for actuaries is expected to grow at a rate three times greater than the average occupation while actuarial compensation exceeds the median annual salary of other mathematical science occupations. Actuarial careers are consistently ranked among the best in both business and STEM fields and have above-average upward mobility

    State of Iowa vs. Sam Craft, Brief for the Appellant

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    Legal Brief. 38 pages2023 Supreme Court Competition Problem: Sam Craft lives in a small home on Birch Street in Eldora, Iowa. Craft owns the home and is its sole occupant. The back yard is surrounded by a fence. The front yard is unfenced. There are four other houses on Birch Street, which is a short dead-end side street. Birch Street connects onto Main Street, between a grocery store and a small church. In early 2020, DCI Special Agent Trails suspected that there was some activity related to fentanyl trafficking at Craft’s residence. She obtained permission from the city to install a small digital video camera on a telephone pole just across the street from Craft’s residence. Throughout 2021, the camera was active and pointed at the front of Craft’s house. Agent Trails monitored the feed. She could also review footage, after the fact. She was able to zoom in to get enough detail to see license plate numbers or facial expressions. But most of the time, the camera was zoomed out to capture a wider shot of the exterior of Craft’s home. No part of the interior of Craft’s home is visible in any of the footage that Agent Trails used. In March 2022, Special Agent Trails applied for a warrant to search Craft’s home. In her search warrant application, she relied on that video footage to establish a pattern of what looked like mid-level drug distribution activity: regular visits by known users and low-level dealers, and bi-weekly visits from a subject with no other known connection to Eldora, who drove a different rental vehicle on each visit to Craft’s residence. A magistrate found probable cause to issue the search warrant. Agents found a large quantity of fentanyl in his home, and evidence that would help prove an ongoing intent to distribute it (including drug ledgers, scales, and packaging supplies). Craft was charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to deliver. Craft moved to suppress all the evidence discovered during the search of his home. He argued that the search warrant was issued based on evidence that was obtained through a warrantless search that violated Craft’s rights under the Fourth Amendment. The State argued that warrantless visual surveillance of the area surrounding a home does not constitute a search. The State argued that any subjective expectation of privacy in activities that occur in public view—just outside of Craft’s residence—would never be objectively reasonable. And if there’s no expectation of privacy, the State is free to view and record that activity. The District Court granted Craft’s Motion to Suppress. It acknowledged that the unfenced front yard of Craft’s home was open to public view. But it held that surreptitious, continuous surveillance of the front of a private home for an entire year is unreasonably invasive and violates a reasonable expectation of privacy—even if widespread availability of new technology makes it easy to do. So it ruled that using the pole camera was a search that violated the Fourth Amendment, and it suppressed all of the evidence found through the search warrant. The State appealed, and the Iowa Supreme Court retained the appeal. The State must convince the Justices that the district court was incorrect, and using this pole camera was not a search. Craft must convince the Justices that the district court got it right, and that this as a search. This is a novel, complex, and difficult issue—but our intrepid finalists are up to the task

    Weathering the Storm: Evaluating Captive Insurance for Iowa Cooperatives in Crisis

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    4 pagesIowa agricultural cooperatives are facing a crisis in obtaining affordable and comprehensive property and casualty insurance due to the withdrawal of major carriers and significant increases in premiums and deductibles. The regulatory requirements for property and casualty insurance and its importance for securing commercial loans make this crisis particularly concerning. This paper examines captive insurance as an alternative for Iowa cooperatives, outlining the benefits and challenges of a self-insurance model. While captive insurance offers customization, potential cost savings, tax incentives, and risk management benefits, cooperatives must consider high start-up costs, limited risk pooling, and selective admission. The paper also discusses strategies for overcoming these challenges, such as purchasing reinsurance and diversifying captive membership. The issue will be further explored at an upcoming cooperative CFO conference in June 2023

    Global Virtual Learning Collaboration Lessons Learned 

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    Pecha Kucha presentation given by Alanah Mitchell, Aliber Distinguished Associate Professor and Chair of Information Management and Business Analytics at Drake University.Today’s educators are tasked to produce students that are able to work in a global business world. Presentation attendees will learn how adding intercultural projects to courses can allow for student learning in relation to course concepts as well as what it is like to work in a global, virtual world. This presentation introduces global, technology supported collaboration assignments where students in the United States have partnered with students from different countries across the world (e.g., China, India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Taiwan) to complete class projects in order to learn about course topics as well as to become more globally aware and increase their intercultural competency. Tasks ranging from 1-week experiences, 8-week experiences, and semester long projects using widely available technology collaboration technologies (e.g., Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, What’s App, etc.) are presented. Findings, lessons learned, and best practices suggest that today’s widely accessible collaboration technologies provide a good fit for the development of intercultural competency

    Collaborative Research: The Des Moines Housing Study 

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    Pecha Kucha presentation given by Elizabeth Talbert, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Drake University.In collaboration with four community housing partners in the Des Moines area—Homeward, Habitat for Humanity, Anawim, and Home, Inc.—my course, “The Art of the Interview,” engaged in an iterative, community- and trauma-informed approach to interviewing people in unstable housing situations. Housing has increasingly become more unaffordable in Des Moines and across the country; in the wake of the pandemic, this issue must be understood locally as well within the national context to best address the impact of this social justice issue. Students in “The Art of the Interview” set out to ask people about their lived experiences with housing instability, analyze those experiences in a systematic way, and advocate with the community for change. This project is an example of community-based research that engages students in long-term change strategies. It is an example of changemaking that, with proper resources and alignment, could be scaled to achieve long-term collective impact. While one class cannot do that alone, this class is the first phase in creating a social innovation ecosystem at Drake to address the issue of affordable housing. Data from “The Art of the Interview” will continue to grow through continued research next semester. Additionally, it will be shared to inform discussions in a political science policy course next semester whose students propose new policy to Polk County Supervisors. It will inspire independent studies that turn the data into long-term advocacy and research agendas. And eventually it may provide a foundation for a partnership with the Entrepreneurship 101 where students would brainstorm innovative market driven solutions that do not yet exist to address the lived experiences of struggles with affordable housing. The possibilities are endless and exciting. This goes to show that practicing changemaking is something that spans modes and disciplines; we need the diverse perspectives and knowledge-making tools of every discipline involved in problem solving societal issues. In short, this project models the spirit of Drake’s inspiration statement: Together we transform lives and strengthen communities

    Dean's Honor Roll for Social Impact: Recognizing those who make service a priority

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    Pecha Kucha presentation given by Alejandro Hernandez, Dean of the College of Business & Public Administration at Drake University.This presentation discusses the value of service for business school students and how it translates to professional success in corporate settings. The College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) rolled out the Dean’s Honor Roll for Social Impact during the fall 2021 semester to recognize students who take the initiative to make their communities a priority through service. Business and public administration students who perform and record at least 20 hours of community service, and submit a reflection paper or attend reflection session at the end of the semester, are placed on this honor roll in recognition of their commitment to making a positive societal impact. The honor roll builds on Drake’s long history of service and our students’ commitment to making a difference in the community. The honor roll recipients are highlighted in my remarks and their reflections shared. The steps we took to create the program, including our work with technology partner NobleHour, and the plans we have to build on our initial experience in the fall of 2021 to enhance the program in 2022 are shared. 

    Investing in Innovation: An Insurance Carrier’s Guide to Insurtech Engagement

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    25 pagesIn a heavily digitized world of speed and convenience - where anyone can purchase groceries, hail a driver, and file their taxes from the comfort of home with just a few clicks or taps - consumers demand ease in everything they do. These expectations do not stop short of the insurance experience, and companies that fail to modernize and accommodate them will surely be left behind. Insurers need not fear, however, as substantial opportunity and assistance exists in the growing landscape of insurance technology (“insurtech”). This report aims to provide a comprehensive guide to properly navigating and taking advantage of insurtech for insurance carriers. Despite its overarching theme, insurtech comes in infinite forms, with a variety of specific objectives, for use by every party in the insurance industry. Therefore, the first section of this report breaks down the complexities of insurtech to define it broadly, explain its origins, and analyze leading technologies in the space. In addition, the first section further explores why insurtech relationships are almost always necessary for survival as a carrier, regardless of the difficulties they present. Broken into the five main stages of insurtech engagement, the second section draws heavily from our interviews with insurance innovation leaders to emphasize the most crucial action points for maximizing success in each step. This includes assessing resources such as budgetary capacity and human capital to determine whether external innovation is optimal, utilizing a variety of sources - most importantly insurtech accelerators - to stay informed of insurtech trends and offerings, and creating a standardized process for testing and evaluating potential solutions. Assuming a desired and compatible insurtech is discovered, we discuss how a carrier’s needs and capabilities dictate its form of engagement (i.e., partnership, acquisition, or other) and provide essential considerations for fostering a fruitful insurtech relationship of any structure. The third and final section of the report summarizes our findings and highlights prominent technologies such as blockchain that are predicted to drive the future of insurtech. Lastly, we encourage carriers of all sizes to prioritize their technological advancement by devoting resources to insurtech learning, testing, and investment

    Food Stamps: The Impact on Consumer Expenditure Behavior

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    17 pagesThe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, is one of the largest and most important federal assistance programs provided by the United States government. The purpose of the program is to promote proper nutrition for low-income consumers. This paper analyzes the effect of SNAP benefits on consumer spending behavior. Using survey data on food expenditures from 2012-2014, regressions were run on how receiving SNAP benefits impacted average weekly expenditures for different categories of food. The results indicate that SNAP-receiving households spend less on total food per week compared to non-recipients. In addition, SNAP benefits correlated with higher expenditures on unhealthy food, with inconclusive evidence on how the benefits impacted spending on healthy foods. This indicates that the purpose of SNAP is not being fulfilled as intended

    Workplace Bullying: Review of U.S. Federal Court Cases

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    27 pagesWorkplace bullying” goes beyond ordinary disagreements at work, even those that are heated exchanges with raised voices. It typically manifests itself as malicious, intentional, repeated, abusive behaviors which harm the bullied employee. Among the potential consequences to employees are job loss and severe health problems, while some negative effects experienced by employers can be increased absenteeism, turnover, and costs. Currently, there is no specific federal cause of action in the United States aimed at preventing such abuse. Researchers previously analyzed U.S. federal court cases to determine how workplace bullying is being treated by the courts. In order to contribute to this research and bring it more up to date, this study focused on federal court cases reported during the time period of November 2014, through December 2021. Westlaw, a comprehensive legal database, was used to collect cases referencing workplace bullying and which were reported during the time period under study. Content analysis was employed to analyze the data. Conclusions reached include workplace bullying is a continuing and widespread federal court issue, a significant percentage of plaintiffs represent themselves, the difficulty of the alleged injured party to prevail, and some employers are addressing the issue through the use of organizational policies. Study implications include employers should recognize the potential negative consequences of bullying in their workplaces and take steps to prevent it. Developments in both federal and state laws related to workplace bullying, as well as how courts interpret such laws, appear to warrant future study

    The Audacity of Equality: Sexual Discrimination in Hiring and Promotion Within the Public Sector in Iowa

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    28 pages. Capstone paper from 2021 Spring MPA program. Instructed by Allen Zagoren.In this modern day, women are speaking out more than ever before regarding their real-life experiences of employment discrimination, whether it be the inability to gain employment for which they are qualified, or even over qualified, or being overlooked for a promotion which they clearly deserved, time and time again. Qualitative experiences of women who have worked in government in Iowa over the past fifty years have unfortunately not shown a progression toward improvement, in the matter of sexual discrimination, in the hiring and promotion practices of the public sector industry. Further supporting this concept, is the ample quantitative hiring and staffing data of state and local government agencies in Iowa. Comprehension of this data shows that although females are being hired by some of these agencies in an equitable manner in comparison to that of males, they are grave disparities in regards to what jobs they are able to gain and what level of leadership they are able to gain promotion to. Still presenting the reality of sexual discrimination is the data that shows, that through archaic hiring practices, women are still highly represented in the traditional female dominated roles in the workforce of clerical support, education and custodian. When allowed into the male dominated fields, women are few in number, rarely reach any role of leadership, and still are being most utilized in the “acceptable” female roles of clerical support, education and custodian. Despite the often-political nature of public sector employment, even liberal, progressive governments do not stray from these sexually discriminate practices, according to current data

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