Customer Research to Design a Robo-Advice Service
Blog Summary


It’s not often that a webinar shares theory, consumer research and practical implementation tips in less than one hour, but the August 4 webinar, Customer Research to Design a Robo-Advice Service, did just that. Aisling Bradfield, Head of Behavioral Science at SCOR, explained robo-advice, a platform that collects information from users and provides automatic advice based on the user’s requirements, and behavioral science theory and biases that impact the creation and adoption of robo-advice services.

Referencing a survey conducted by SCOR in partnership with Toluna in September 2021 with 463 U.S. consumers, Aisling explained the survey revealed that though more than 75% of survey respondents had never experienced robo-advisors in any online purchase, 20% to 30% would be willing to use it in the future. When thinking about life insurance specifically, 10% of respondents selected robo-advice as the channel they would most trust for future purchases.

A further 40% of respondents told us they preferred doing their own research, and Aisling explained the behavioral biases that might impact the preference for this self-searching approach and suggest that consumers need more support when searching online. She also discussed the key advantages of robo-advice as identified by survey respondents, namely ease of use, convenience and unbiased advice.

Aisling illustrated survey respondent segmentation, proposing the target market for robo-advice services would be under 55 years of age with at least some college education. Interestingly, there was no significant variation in attitude to robo-advice among respondents of different income levels. This contrasts the use of professional advice which is strongly skewed to higher income groups. Due to the wider appeal, robo-advice could be a potential remedy to reduce the protection gap.

Adam Taylor, Consulting Director, Strategic Relationships at Securian Financial then shared information about Securian’s robo-advice platform that has been successfully helping workplace benefits customers choose types and levels of their employee benefits for approximately four years. His presentation confirmed many of the biases that Aisling had introduced and explained how Securian has used customer feedback to enhance and expand the robo-advice service.

As a channel to promote products and services to potential customers or a way to engage and support existing customers, robo-advice seems to be something that customers are interested in. Key to the success of the platform is how it is integrated into existing processes to best support customers with personalized service whenever and wherever they want to engage.   


Filling the Gap: Raising Life Insurance Literacy in the U.S.
Blog Summary


A recent SIR webinar featured Hiroe Noonan, Manager, Market Research and Analytics at SCOR discussing the impact of the pandemic on life insurance sales and Allison Broglie Head of North America at ReMark, discussing what consumers know – or think they know -- about life insurance. Noonan noted the unprecedented 20% increase in life insurance sales during the first year of the pandemic could be attributed to the frequent, negative news about daily COVID-19 deaths and infection rates. Bombarded with the messages and perhaps personal experiences of being close to death due to personal health issues or having a family member or friend die during the pandemic brought the need for life insurance to the forefront.

After Noonan concluded her overview of the life insurance market post-COVID, Broglie demonstrated a dashboard developed by ReMark in conjunction with its 2021 annual Global Consumer Study (GCS) to illustrate consumer attitudes about life insurance, examining differences among generational groups. Filters on the dashboard also allow exploration of differences by gender, developed vs. emerging markets and by single or multiple countries.

While sales did increase in 2021 to nearly six million policies, it’s interesting to note that the number of people covered by life insurance did not increase as much as total premium rose. The pandemic actually did little to narrow the coverage gap in the U.S. Research from the International Insurance Society cited by Noonan listed four primary reasons why most Americans do not have coverage:  

1. Think it’s too expensive
2. Process is too slow
3. Don’t think they need it
4. Confused how to apply

Improving consumer literacy could overcome the first, third and fourth objections to purchasing life insurance and potentially extend the upward life insurance sales trend, Noonan said.

Given the increase in the sales of life insurance, Broglie said questions about life insurance literacy were added to the 2021 GCS to measure whether consumers are meeting their needs with the life insurance products they need. She used the dashboard to examine differences between consumer confidence in their life insurance literacy and their actual knowledge as measured by their responses to questions in the GCS survey as well as the users’ desire to improve their life insurance literacy. 



SIR 2022 Annual Partnership Prospectus

Lock in your visibility and business opportunity with SIR members in our inaugural partnership package! This is our best value, saving you time and money. Individual event specific sponsorships and upgrades are still available. Our competitive pricing compared to similar industry events can't be beat and SIR members receive significant discounts.

If you have any questions, please email

View Annual Sponsorship Prospectus Here

Dr. Robert Hartwig Named First-Ever Smith & Mangum Distinguished Service Award Winner

SIR established a new award this year 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. This year's winner is Robert P. Hartwig, Ph.D., CPCU. Nominated for this award by SIR board member Jaimie Pickles, Dr. Hartwig has been the leading source on the pulse and outlook for all lines of insurance for many years and has contributed to SIR as a keynote speaker at our annual conference on at least 2 occasions. He speaks regularly at industry events and is head of the University of South Carolina's Risk Management School. His research and research methodologies are followed widely by industry research professionals. Throughout his career, Dr. Hartwig has consistently aligned with SIR's purpose in advocating for the insurance research profession, fostering the exchange of ideas and conducting research and educational activities that are widely followed by insurance research professionals at all stages of their careers (including students). His involvement in SIR has been invaluable, and his work is greatly appreciated by all he impacts.

Award Winners Announced at SIR Annual Membership Meeting

Each year at the SIR Annual Membership Meeting, the Society grants awards to individuals and companies that have made exemplary contributions to the organization. President's individual and organizational awards are granted by the sitting SIR President and recognize volunteers and organizations that have gone above and beyond in their support of SIR and during their service on SIR Committees. The CI Calls Top Contributor Award recognizes the member who frequently participates and provides value insights on the quarterly SIR Roundtable Calls. The Hopp/Budd Award is only granted to individuals whose contributions to SIR are truly exemplary. Please join us in congratulating this year's winners and thanking them for their contributions to SIR:

President's Individual Award - Lori Schoenenberger, Amerisure Insurance

For continuing to go above and beyond the call of duty as Annual Conference Co-chair, Marketing Committee member and Spring Workshop Committee member

President's Individual Award - Adrienne Kreger, American Financial Group

For her continued dedication and service to the Education Committee and Annual Conference Commercial Lines Track

President's Individual Award - Ron Zezza, Cigna

For his efforts to revitalize the Health track, recruit new members and increase engagement among health members

President’s Individual Award - Rich Skyba, Moda Health 

For his efforts to revitalize the Health track, recruit new members and increase engagement among health members

President’s Individual Award - Ashley Johnson, USAA

For presenting at the Spring Workshop, conducting all Innovation Study qualitative interviews, and presenting findings at the annual conference

President's Organization Award - American Family Insurance

For their legacy of leadership within SIR through the board and various committees as well as high member participation. Thank you for being one of SIR's most engaged member companies.

CI Calls Top Contributor Award - Ron Zezza, Cigna

In recognition of his consistent participation and contributions to the quarterly CI sharing calls serving as a great example to others

Hopp/Budd Award - Carrie Grahn, American Family Insurance

For her continued support of SIR events throughout the year and willigness to always take on new challenges. 


See the past Award Winners on Our History Page

SIR Webinar in the Press

Did you miss the recent webinar led by Marc Majers, Lead UX Researcher at Progressive? The program walked us all through the why’s and how’s of taking a different approach to generate a profitable outcome for our products. P&C Specialist released an article by Carl Winfield covering the program and Majers' philosophy of "Make Your Customers Dance." 

Read the Article Here  

SIR Roundtable Recaps

Did you miss the recent DEI and Life/Health Roundtables? These are great opportunities to connect and learn with your fellow members. Click the links for a short recap and then log in to the Research Resources page and watch the recording.

DEI Roundtable Recap 

 Life/Health Roundtable Recap   


SIR's New Membership Referral Program

Invite your network to join SIR! 

SIR is happy to announce our newest member benefit! Starting today, members can earn a chance to win a $100 gift card for referring new members to join SIR! This is a great opportunity to create a larger community to share best practices and insurance research. 

How It Works: 

Reach out to your network and tell them what you like about SIR. If it sounds good to them, invite them to join. 

New member must give credit to the referring member on the new member application.

Each new individual membership earns the referring party one chance in the raffle. New company memberships (corporate carriers, solution provider exhibitor/non-exhibitor) earn 10 chances to win. Each individual in the drawing will receive an $10 gift card just for participating.  

Raffles will be held on the last work day each month. There must be a minimum of 3 individuals participating or the raffle will be held the following month. 

The first drawing will be held at the end of January 2022!

Board and Membership Committee members are not eligible to win. 

Learn About Membership Plans & Benefits Here

SIR Recorded "How-To" Videos

SIR’s Education Committee is launching a new "how-to" video series to help our members learn and sharpen their skills. The first topic focuses on accurately presenting and communicating information through graphs. 

 View the Videos Here   


SIR 2021 Annual Conference Sees Largest Ever Attendance

After a board decision to switch the Annual Conference from a hybrid program to fully virtual, SIR found its 2021 conference to be a smashing success. October 18-19 saw 35 sessions on insurance-related topics as well as time dedicated to networking and a virtual exhibit hall. The business meeting on the final day allowed for the presentation of several awards to outstanding members and companies. More information can be found in the press release sent out on October 27.

Read the full press release now!

Society of Insurance Research (SIR) Current State of Insurance Innovation

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.


SIR Member Census 

SIR is excited to launch our first annual member census! The member census will help us understand our members much better. It contains three sections and takes approximately 10 minutes. 

- The first section will populate the member directory with your professional experiences. The second section asks for your personal demographics. Finally, the third section focuses on how you want to engage with SIR.
 The SIR is a community built to serve our collective needs. We need to know more about you and your desires to successfully meet your needs. Many thanks in advance and good luck in the prize drawing!

Take the Census Now!  

The SIR Community


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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.

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