Professional Profiles

SFU risk management grad moves career forward

Elvis Chan. Photo by Greg Ehlers.

By Andrew Kochergin

SFU’s Risk Management Certificate opened new doors for Elvis Chan. The courses helped him meet the requirements of the Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation, and after graduating, he was hired as a senior claims specialist at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty.

“Today, you need to stand out,” Chan says. “Education helps you grow within the insurance industry.”

When Chan got his foot in the door, he had no formal education in insurance. Despite being successful, he didn’t qualify for senior jobs, which required professional risk certifications.

He took SFU’s Risk Management Certificate because it was part-time and he could attend classes in the evenings.

The classes helped Chan build a network in the risk management community. “You can be sitting to the left of a senior level manager, and to the right of someone who just wants to get a better idea of the industry,” he says. “You work off each other.”

The instructors were award-winning industry professionals, and today, he applies their insights in his work. In fact, he still sees his instructors and classmates in the risk management community. “You can build career-long, life-long, lasting relationships through the program,” Chan says.

The group projects gave him an opportunity to refine the skills a successful risk manager needs: how to see and analyze a risk, how to look at a risk from different perspectives, and how to understand your company’s risk culture.

When he got his CRM designation, he became eligible for a variety of jobs and was hired as a risk manager at the City of Coquitlam. He now works as the assistant manager in Risk and Loss Control at the City of Vancouver. “If it wasn’t for the program, I would never have had these opportunities available,” he says.

Chan is still learning. Every day of his job is different: New products come out, and he finds new risks that he hasn’t seen before. “The insurance industry can go anywhere,” he says. “But the base of what the risk management program taught me will stay with me wherever I go.”