Derek Hughes Scholarship Program

Established in 1998, the Derek Hughes Scholarship Program, sponsored by the WSIA Education Foundation, supports undergraduate students pursuing an insurance or business-related program of study. The purpose of the scholarship program is to further the study of insurance and encourage, support, and reward those exceptional students who have an interest in an insurance career in the surplus lines industry. The program is named for Derek Hughes, to honor his contributions to the surplus line industry and the Foundation.

Previous recipients are eligible to receive the scholarship in subsequent years, but must reapply each year. All applications must be submitted online to be considered. The 2022-23 academic year application deadline will be in March 2022. Up to 24 $5,000 scholarships will be awarded; $2,500 for Fall 2022 and $2,500 for Spring 2023. 

Learn more in the program brochure.  

Scholarship Criteria 

In order to be eligible for this scholarship, students must meet the following guiding principles:
  • Have an overall GPA of 3.25 or a major GPA of 3.5 or higher;
  • Be a college sophomore, junior or senior not graduating before Fall 2022;
  • Be enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours) in an undergraduate degree program;
  • Satisfy one of the following substantive requirements:
    • Be an RMI major/minor/concentration student;
    • Have taken RMI courses; or
    • Have work experience in the RMI industry.

Scholarship Qualifications and Materials 

The following documents should be prepared and ready to upload as part of the online application:

  • A resume that is no longer than two pages and conforms to required standards and formatting for submission.
  • An essay (no more than one page and 500 words) answering one of the following questions:

a. What specific characteristics make you a good fit for the surplus lines industry and why?
b. Upon graduation, what area of the surplus lines industry are you interested in working in and why? How will you make a difference?

Unofficial transcripts should be provided as either a Word document or PDF. JPG files cannot be accepted. Please note: The committee may request your official transcripts as verification. In addition, students will need a reference letter from an individual who can speak to the applicant's character and work ethic. The reference should be a non-family member and could be a supervisor, faculty member/teacher, coach or someone else who knows the applicant well. Letters should be sent directly from the reference to Christine Timmerman at [email protected].

Scholarship FAQs

1. Can I submit or mail physical application elements?

No, due to the volume of applications all materials must be submitted in the prescribed online format.

2. What sort of work experience should I include in my resume? 

Select the work experience that most clearly showcases your strengths as a candidate, and that most clearly represents the strengths you will discuss in your 500-word essay.  You may access a sample recommended resume format here

3. Can I include additional resume pages? 

No, the resume must be no more than two pages. If you have additional experience, please select the experience that most clearly demonstrates the abilities you feel represent you. You can, however, use different amounts of space with the two pages. For example, you might have more work experience than leadership experience, and may reallocate space accordingly.

4. Can I use my own resume format? 

Yes, as long as it conforms to the two-page limit and addresses the critical components of Education (including a list of courses), Work Experience, Leadership Experience, Awards, and Activities in that order. It is important the scholarship reviewers have similarly formatted information in order to best assess you against other candidates.

5. Who should I select as my reference? 

The Committee strongly prefers references who can speak to your character as an individual specifically and with a great deal of personal knowledge. A former employer or professor who can speak to your work over many months/years is ideal. Those individuals with a familial relationship or who are not able to speak to you with personal knowledge will not be weighted as heavily.

6. The essay prompt seems expansive. How can I choose a topic?

The prompt is intended to be broad, as this is your opportunity to give the committee an impression of who you are as an individual and why you stand out from other well-qualified candidates. It is recommended that you research the industry and the people who work in it to formulate a purposeful, personal response to this question.

About Derek Hughes

Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Derek Hughes began his insurance career there in 1957 with the Royal Exchange Insurance Group. He emigrated to the United States in 1961 and, after working for several insurance firms, found his way to the excess and surplus lines industry and Western World Insurance Company in 1968. He retired from Western World as CEO in 1991.

Hughes served on the board of directors of NAPSLO, a WSIA legacy association, and chaired its education committee for many years. During his tenure, he led the development of the association’s first education program, with a goal to both educate and support young talent coming into the industry and to provide ongoing professional development and education for industry veterans and regulators who often misunderstood the surplus lines market. That mission and his legacy remain at the forefront of the association and foundation’s education program today.

Previous Scholarship Recipients

For a list of previous recipients, click on the links below.

2020 Scholarship Recipients
2019 Scholarship Recipients
2018 Scholarship Recipients
2017 Scholarship Recipients
2016 Scholarship Recipients
2015 Scholarship Recipients

2014 Scholarship Recipients
2013 Scholarship Recipients
2012 Scholarship Recipients
2011 Scholarship Recipients
2010 Scholarship Recipients