The Society of Insurance Research Sees Largest Ever Attendance With Successful Virtual Conference

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Dr. Robert Hartwig, Clinical Associate Professor of Risk Management, Insurance & Finance at the University of South Carolina, Awarded SIR’s Inaugural Smith & Mangum Award for Outstanding Contributions to Insurance Research

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SIR has made great strides in the past year to expand its member benefits beyond the annual conference to reach members and all those in this field 365 days a year, not just once a year.

The Society of Insurance Research (SIR), a leading organization dedicated to the research profession in the insurance industry, concluded its two-day annual conference on October 19, 2021. Amid the surge of the Delta COVID variant, the SIR Board and Conference Planning Committee pivoted quickly to an all-virtual conference option, and the result was impressive: a record-number of registrations, the largest SIR conference in the organization’s 51-year history, featuring 35 sessions and 65 speakers from 59 companies.

“While we prefer in-person and love seeing one another, I could not be happier with the success of this conference and extend my thanks to the SIR Board members and committee volunteers that made this happen,” said Mike Myers, SIR President.

SIR’s 2021 Annual Conference, a flagship benefit to its nearly 1,000 members, focused on themes of innovation across product lines and voice of the agent/broker, with a diverse range of presentations, including Facebook discussing how it is bringing new capabilities to the insurance industry, an agent/broker panel discussion challenging assumptions around the demise of P&C local agents and how many are now leaning heavily into the local agent ecosystem, and an expert presentation on the impact of the insurance industry’s DEI efforts.

“SIR has made great strides in the past year to expand its member benefits beyond the annual conference to reach members and all those in this field 365 days a year, not just once a year. That has included adding educational webinars throughout the year that are open to anyone," added Myers. “And that’s all thanks to the fabulous committees we have in place.”

SIR’s Research Committee presented on its Innovation Research – one of the most popular sessions of the conference. The research found that 6 in 10 industry professionals feel customer experience is an area that could benefit from innovation, though many state it’s not included enough in current innovation processes. An infographic summarizing the findings can be found at

Dr. Hartwig of University of South Carolina Wins Inaugural Smith & Mangum Award

SIR awarded Dr. Robert Hartwig, a Clinical Associate Professor of Risk Management, Insurance and Finance in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and Director of the school’s Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management, with its inaugural Smith & Mangum Award.

Dr. Hartwig teaches courses in risk management, insurance and corporate finance, mentors students, and works with insurers, regulators, legislators and many other insurance industry stakeholders, including media. Dr. Hartwig is immediate Past President of the Insurance Information Institute, an organization he led from 2007 to 2016.

SIR established the new award to honor the late Carol Smith from Progressive and Randy Mangum from USAA. Both individuals made significant industry contributions and served on the SIR board and committees. The Smith & Mangum Distinguished Service Award recognizes an insurance professional who has made distinguished contributions in the field of insurance research.

SIR’s 2021-2022 Board of Directors

Myers announced the new Board slate, representing active SIR volunteers and new contributors from across the insurance and research industries.

President - Mike Myers, USAA
Treasurer - Dawn Faint, Florida Blue
Secretary - Chris Rzany, Fidelity Life
VP, Communication & Content Development - Lisa Greenwald, Greenwald Research
VP, Conference - Austin Tucker, National General Insurance
VP, Diversity & Inclusion - Kim Waller, Korn Ferry
VP, Education & Educational Outreach - Amelia Fitch, American Family
VP, Marketing - Lori Schoenenberger, Amerisure
VP, Membership - Liz Taggart, Safety National
VP, Research - Brian Kiley, West Bend Mutual
VP, Workshop - Sridhar Manyem, AM Best
Director - Ron Zezza, Cigna
Director - Manisha Dias, SCOR
Director- David Kalinowski, Proactive Worldwide
Director - Jaimie Pickles, First Interpreter
Continuing Director - Vickie Kilgore, The Institutes

About SIR

The Society of Insurance Research was created in 1950 as a non-profit, carrier led association to elevate fact-based insurance research and to support the professionals that create and drive these insights. For more information, visit, email, or follow SIR on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

SIR leadership welcomes opportunities to assist journalists and industry news outlets with information and research about P&C, life, commercial, and health insurance. Follow us on social for regular updates and please feel free to reach out to

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Michelle Herr
Society of Insurance Research (SIR)
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