About the IRUA Scholars Program

The IRUA Scholars Program is in two parts – an Essay Program and a College Outreach Program.

Scholars Essay Program
The first part of the program enables IRUA member companies to encourage their interns and, NEW for 2021, their new-to-the- industry professionals, to apply to participate in this program Monetary amounts determined by the Board may be awarded based on a competitive written essay submission.

Recognizing that it was impossible to offer this program in 2020 we have expanded the eligibility to cover interns and new hires who either worked, or are working, at an IRUA member company over an extended time period.  Initially, applicants must complete and submit a simple application as, for tax reasons, only U.S. citizens and individuals legally permitted to work in the United States are eligible to participate.

The specifics of the Scholars Program are subject to change at any time by either the Scholars Committee or the Board of Directors.

2021 Essay Program Criteria
1.   The applicant must be legally permitted to work or study in the United States and have a Social Security Number; and

2.   Has worked, or is currently working, in-person or remotely/Virtually, for an IRUA member company as an intern at any point between January 2020 and August  2021; or

3.   Is currently working, in-person or remotely/virtually, for an IRUA member company as a part-time or full-time employee in their first insurance/reinsurance job with a
date of hire on or after March 1, 2020.

Important Essay Details
1.   In order to qualify, essays must be a 3- 4000 word, “white paper”, submitted in Microsoft Word format,
on a specific insurance or reinsurance topic of your choice and should provide a detailed explanation on the relevance, impact or potential impact to the reinsurance industry.  Authors must attribute, in footnotes, all sources and must have the contractual right to use any graphics or images.

2.  The IRUA Scholars Committee will review the essays submitted and determine the
winners of an award, the number and monetary value of which will be decided each
year. The goal is for winners to be announced by mid-October each year.

3.   As a reminder, interns can be working in any department at their host company;
however, the host company must be an IRUA member.

Application and Completed Essay Deadlines
Due Date: Application Due Date:   No later than August 20, 2021

Essay Due Date:  No later than September 3, 2021
Submission of Application & Essay:  Application and Essays are to be emailed to:  IRUA Executive Administrator Maria Sclafani at

NOTE – Upon submission, you will receive an email confirmation when your application/essay has been received.  Over the course of the following 12 months, each winning paper will be published in the Journal of Reinsurance so be sure to read it when it hits your email inbox!

Click HERE to Download the Scholarship Application

Past Awardees 

In 2018, the total amount disbursed was $17,750  and in 2019, $10,000.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we were not able to offer the program in 2020.

2019 Scholars Award Winning Papers

First Place:  Zubyn D’Costa of  Wellesley College in Massachusetts.  She interned at Munich Re America in their Innovation Incubator and came in first place with her essay entitled:  Mitigating Food Risks in the New World”.

Second Place: Nadezhda Karkelenova of the Rutgers University in New Jersey. She, too, interned at Munich Re America and received second place for her essay entitled: “Meet Meat: How New Innovations in Agriculture Could Affect the (Re)Insurance World”.

Third Place : Liam Hettinger of Depaul University in Illinois.  He interned at Arch Re and  was judged the third place winner for his essay entitled: “Mergers and Acquisitions in the Eye of Storm?”.

                                        2018 Scholars Award Winning Papers

First Place:  Luke Schwenke of the College of William & Mary in Virginia.  Luke interned at Markel Corporation and received first pace for his essay entitled:Insuring against Unknown Cyber Attacks in the Age of the Internet of Things”

Second Place: Sean McDermott of Loyola University in Maryland.  Sean interned at Transatlantic Re and recived second place for his essay entitled: “Blockchain Technology – Why the Insurance/Reinsurance Industry will Never be the Same”

Third Place:  Elizabeth Cunningham of the University of New Hampshire.  Elizabeth interned at Crum & Forster and received third place for her essay entitled: “Cannabis Coverage: A Redirection of Insurance?”

Over the course of the following 12 months each paper was published in the IRUA’s Journal of Reinsurance, which is available as a benefit of membership or as a paid subscription. The unique Journal has, over the past 28 years, provided over 400 articles on technical reinsurance texts; financial related articles; current, emerging & potentially future risk explanations & analysis and is used by, among others, The Institutes as a source for CPCU study materials and by attorneys as a source of expert reference. All articles are available to members and subscribers in the “JOR Archive” section of our website.

College Outreach Program

The second part of the Scholars Program will expand the IRUA outreach to the risk management and insurance schools at universities and colleges nationwide through visits and presentations by IRUA member company executives. The goal is to expand the exposure to reinsurance for students/interns through enhanced networking and interaction with existing industry professionals. This aspect of the program is still being developed.

The Scholars program is funded by member contributions so if you require further information; wish to make a financial contribution; or are interested in IRUA membership,  please contact Executive Director, Jerry Wallis, at