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An Interview with Dr. Pete Kensicki

Dr. Pete Kensicki

We came to Richmond and EKU in August 1989 from the American Institute for CPCU and the Insurance Institute of America.  It was the same year that Coach Buddy Ryan of the Philadelphia Eagles used his first-round draft pick for an EKU player.  I told everyone it was a trade.  I came to EKU in trade for the Jesse Small (a linebacker) and yet another EKU player to be named later.  Sure enough, in 1966 the Eagles drafted Jason Dunn (tight end) and the trade was complete.

All classes were special in one way or another and it would be unfair to single any group out.  But I did have a bit of a hard time at first as I had spent the previous fifteen years working with adults who were in the insurance business and were dedicated to improving themselves in their business.  I had to remember what it was like to be a regular student again, that is someone who had multiple interesting things to do besides one particular class.  One thing about all classes that still stands out is that the students I had were so much better than they thought themselves.  They would have been a success at any university and they needed to see they could compete WITH ANYONE.   

Consulting work definitely helped in the classroom.   Real world was our whole philosophy and experiences with the way insurance was distributed and how the various contracts worked in loss situations helped get a point across.   A simple example is how many agents believe they must provide risk exposure information as a basic service when, in fact, all they legally have to do is obtain the insurance requested or explain why they could not.  They can create a great errors and omissions exposure for themselves by volunteering to do more.   Another example is how certain coverages are triggered.  Many time it is necessary to explain that a claim must meet certain factual situations before it can be covered.  Finally, using the actual way the $3.5 billion coverage limits for the World Trade Center showed how jumbo risks can be covered both in layers and in participation within layers.

Retirement has been spent with the Ethics Committee of the CPCU Society.  I still take legal work but am very selective.  More fun is had by analyzing coverage situations for businesses and other complicated organizations.    I help my wife with her garden and we try to travel (this is being written as we pass through the Suez Canal).  I took up baking with a storm and have had a lot of fun entering the County Fair.  We have maintained our season tickets to EKU football.  I have quit pretending to play golf.  Finally, I have maintained a serious pattern of cardiac exercise.   Some former students will be pleased to know that I quit smoking 10 years ago.

As to advise, my biggest disappointment is how few of our students continue their insurance education in true professional programs such as CPCU, CLU, ChFC.  Life does get busy when you leave college, but your business gets complicated.  When you left EKU you were at least three steps ahead of your competition but they can catch up unless you decide to stay ahead.  Another thing is to give out compliments to as many people as you can for whatever reason they did something good.  That is a seed that when planted will return many fold to you.

The best thing about EKU was that a faculty member with a doctoral degree was expected to teach!  That sounds strange, but for some reason many universities believe that research is a primary focus and students are a distraction.  Not so at EKU.   We were expected to improve our student's lives and do that primarily by classroom teaching at the undergraduate level.  I only wanted our Insurance Majors to be the best they could be.  If that turned out to be something great in an area outside insurance, fine.   But whatever, be your best.

Published on February 28, 2023

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