About the IRC and its Mission
Founded in 1977, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) is an independent, nonprofit research organization supported by leading property and casualty insurance companies and associations. It provides timely and reliable information based on extensive data collection and analyses, examining important public policy matters that affect insurers, customers, and the general public. IRC is devoted solely to research and the communication of its research findings. It does not, however, advocate public policy; nor does it directly influence specific legislative initiatives or engage in lobbying communications.
IRC takes justifiable pride in raising the level and quality of the debate about insurance matters, both nationally and at the state level. IRC's research is highly regarded for its quality and its relevance to important public policy discussions. In keeping with the IRC's goal to broaden the horizon of debate on important public policy issues, the results of its work products are used by a variety of organizations with whom it cooperates, and are widely publicized through the media.
Yet the real value of IRC research transcends public education and understanding of insurance. The body of work that IRC produces has been useful in advancing the insurance industry's views on a host of matters crucial to insurance companies and their policyholders, and to business owners and their employees. The insurance industry has come to rely upon the IRC for critically needed property-casualty studies that are not ordinarily undertaken by other research organizations. IRC reports are widely distributed to assist insurers and the general public in reaching sound decisions on legislative and regulatory issues. Its major studies each year provide facts pertaining to key industry challenges. Policy makers and opinion leaders can view its reports as objective guides to understanding issues.
IRC primarily conducts four types of research to suit the needs of the insurance industry and the general public and to accommodate the nature of the issues under investigation.
Public Opinion Surveys
IRC regularly conducts nationwide probability sample surveys, both in-home and telephone, to obtain timely public opinion information on critical issues that affect insurance companies, their policyholders, and the society at large. For example, the Council has conducted Public Attitude Monitor (PAM) surveys annually since 1980, measuring public attitudes and beliefs on a wide range of topics related to risk and insurance. Topics vary from year to year, but the report has surveyed public attitudes on issues such as insurance fraud, earthquake insurance, the cost of auto insurance, drinking and driving, speed limits, traffic safety, workers' compensation, attorney advertising, and auto insurance rating systems. Beginning in 1997, the PAM study moved from an annual survey to reports released periodically throughout the year in order to shorten the production period and make public opinion information available in a more timely manner.
Analysis of Insurance Statistical Experience
IRC performs analysis on data compiled by licensed statistical agents (ISO, National Association of Independent Insurers, NISS) to examine the statistical experience of property-casualty insurers and to reveal patterns in insurance claims. For example, the Council undertook a study to examine the latest trends in injury and property damage claims associated with auto accidents. It analyzed claim frequency, severity and average loss cost for each state over time, as well as comparative data on every rating territory in the U.S. It also utilized new means of comparing the costs associated with the various automobile insurance compensation systems in place in the states and demonstrated the connection between cost increases and premium increases.
Closed Claim Studies
Every three to five years, IRC conducts a national closed claim study on auto injuries. It investigates major changes in the number and kinds of injuries being reported in automobile crashes in the U.S., the kinds and amounts of medical treatment obtained by injured persons, the insurance payments received, and the cost of providing auto insurance to vehicle owners.
U.S. economic growth during the past half century has enormously increased the nation's exposure to catastrophic property damages since much of the growth has occurred in areas subject to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters. This accumulation of catastrophic risk is a major concern for the insurance industry and the general public. In order to understand the financial and social implications of these rare, yet devastating, events, IRC conducts simulation studies to estimate the consequences of natural disasters under hypothetical conditions.
2015 Advisory Board
The IRC is supported by leading property and casualty insurance companies and associations.
Victoria McCarthy, Chairperson
Farmers Insurance Group
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
State Farm Insurance Companies
Allstate Insurance Company
United Services Automobile Association
Liberty Mutual Group
Property Casualty Insurance Association of America
Hanover Insurance Group
AMICA Mutual Insurance Company
American Family Insurance
Elizabeth A. Sprinkel
David L. Corum, Secretary
The IRC is located on the campus of the The Institutes, about 25 miles west of Philadelphia in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
718 Providence Road
Malvern, Pennsylvania 19355
For general inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth A. Sprinkel
Senior Vice President
Director of Research
610-644-2100 (ext. 7573)
Patrick Schmid, PhD
Director of Research