UNLV’s Kerestesi Center for Insurance and Risk Management aspires to be the premier academic insurance and risk management program in the Western United States by supporting students, faculty, staff, and local industry studying and working in this field.

The center will accomplish this mission through the following initiatives:

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Academic Programs

In addition to the existing minor in Insurance and Risk management, UNLV will soon offer a major in the discipline that will be managed by the center. Classes are taught by industry experts which makes the curriculum relevant and applicable to what’s happening in the industry.

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Industry Partnerships

The center collaborates with leading insurance companies, risk management firms, and regulatory bodies to offer internships, externships, and mentorship programs for students that bridge the gap between academia and industry. Additionally, the center’s community advisory board provides a voice from the industry that influences the curriculum and professional development offerings for students.

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Research and Innovation

Research conducted through the center addresses key challenges faced by the insurance and risk management industry. Faculty and students work together to develop innovative solutions, contributing to the advancement of knowledge in this critical field.

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Professional Development

The center hosts seminars, workshops, and conferences featuring industry experts, leaders, and policymakers. These events provide opportunities for continuous learning, knowledge sharing, and networking among professionals, students, and academics. UNLV’s student chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a professional fraternity for college students studying insurance, also is housed within the center.


In 2023, with financial support from the Nevada Surplus Lines Foundation, UNLV established the Kerestesi Center for Insurance and Risk Management to provide the education, experiential learning, and career exposure needed to prepare students for success in the insurance and risk management industry.

The center’s namesake, Thomas F. Kerestesi, began his insurance career as a commercial lines underwriter with The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company and the Royal Insurance Company in Southern California. In 1974, he returned to Las Vegas to join his father, Frank, at the Cragin & Pike Insurance Agency, the second oldest business in Las Vegas and the oldest insurance agency in the state of Nevada.

Tom was active with Cragin & Pike for 36 years, serving as president for 20 years before retiring in 2011. Tom’s son, Scott, now serves as CEO of Cragin & Pike, which marks the third generation of the Kerestesi family working with the firm.

In no small part due to Tom’s leadership and commitment to education, the Nevada Surplus Lines Association and Nevada Surplus Lines Foundation have collectively provided an endowment of $5 million to the Nevada System of Higher Education for scholarships for students in business at both UNLV and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), as well as community colleges. In addition, the NSLA and NSLF were instrumental in the creation and funding of a professorship for Insurance and Risk Management at UNLV and UNR.

Simplified Summary

**Mission** The UNLV Kerestesi Center for Insurance and Risk Management wants to be the best place in the Western United States for learning and working in insurance and risk management. Here's how they plan to do it: Academic Programs: They're planning a special degree for students who want to learn about insurance and risk management. Industry Partnerships: They will work with big insurance companies to give students real work experience. Research and Innovation: Teachers and students will work together to find new ways to solve problems in the insurance business. Professional Development: They will have special events with experts so people can learn more and meet others in the field. **History ** The Kerestesi Center started in 2023 with help from the Nevada Surplus Lines Foundation. It's named after Thomas F. Kerestesi, who worked in insurance for many years and was a leader in the business in Nevada. His family still runs an insurance company, and they've helped a lot with funding for education in Nevada. This includes $5 million for scholarships and a special teacher position for Insurance and Risk Management at UNLV and UNR.