Middle Market Consumer Research Request for Proposal

Background and Purpose

Ownership of insurance in the middle market is lower than in other markets, resulting in a substantial underinsured population. To address the barriers to market penetration, a thorough understanding of the middle market consumer is needed.

The purpose of the study is to develop an assessment of middle market consumers across three areas:

  1. Current attitudes, demographics, geographic region, life stages, lifestyle habits, health status, and financial circumstances
  2. Perceptions of insurance and the insurance industry, with a focus on alternative distribution channels (e.g. InsurTech or non-traditional insurance providers), trust, buying habits, impact of fundraising sites like GoFundMe, and other characteristics by defined market segments (such as age, income level, life stage, etc.)
  3. Feelings toward specific Life, Health (excluding major medical), Annuity, and Retirement products (understanding, necessity, and value). The list of products will be specified by the sponsors of the study.

The results of this study will be used to provide the insurance industry with a deeper understanding of how to reach middle market customers and develop products that better meet their needs.

Research Objective

The Marketing and Distribution Section (“Primary Sponsor”) as well as the Committee on Life Insurance Research and Product Development Section (“Secondary Sponsors”), collectively the “Sponsors”, are seeking a vendor to support, structure, and perform an innovative study assessing middle market consumers in the United States on the three areas defined above. An understanding of previously published middle market research by the Society of Actuaries, LIMRA, and others is required to avoid duplication of efforts.

The Sponsors expect the vendor to participate in the final scope of the study and make recommendations as necessary, though the Sponsors will provide subject matter experts and lead these discussions. For purposes of the proposal, please assume that middle market consumers are aged 25 and older with annual household income from $30,000 to $120,000.

The Sponsors are open to a variety of research methods, including online or telephone surveys, group sessions, and in-person interviews. In addition to helping to structure and perform the study, the vendor will be expected to compile and analyze the research and summarize the results in a report made available to the SOA membership.

It is expected that the vendor will work closely with a Project Oversight Group (POG) to obtain sign-off on the information to be collected, the survey questionnaire and/or interview questions, and the final report of survey results. The Researcher(s) will also provide the POG with periodic progress reports. Members of this group will be available to provide feedback and guidance to the Researcher(s) as needed.


To facilitate the evaluation of proposals, the following information should be submitted:

  1. Resumes of key personnel, indicating how their background, education and experience bear on their qualifications to undertake the research. A single individual should be designated as the project lead and primary contact. The person submitting the proposal must be authorized to speak on behalf of all the participants as well as for the firm or institution on whose behalf the proposal is submitted.
  2. An outline of the approach to be used emphasizing issues that require special consideration. Details should be given regarding the techniques to be used, collateral material to be consulted, and possible limitations of the analysis. Please indicate the number of middle market consumers that will be contacted as well as how you will ensure a proper cross-section of consumers by geography, age, sex, income, education level, industry, etc. will be represented.
  3. A description of the expected deliverables and any supporting data, tools or other resources.
  4. A fixed cost for the project, including computer time, salaries, report preparation, material costs, etc. While cost will be a factor in the evaluation of the proposal, it will not necessarily be the decisive factor.
  5. A schedule for completion of the project, identifying key dates or time frames for completion and report submissions. The Sponsors are interested in completing this project in a timely manner. Suggestions in the proposal for ensuring timely delivery are encouraged.
  6. Other related factors that give evidence of a proposer's capabilities to perform in a superior fashion should be detailed.

Selection Process

The Sponsors will appoint a POG to oversee the project. The Sponsors are responsible for recommending the proposal to be funded. Input from other knowledgeable individuals also may be sought, but the Sponsors will make the final recommendation, subject to SOA leadership approval. The SOA's Research Actuary will provide staff actuarial support.


Any questions regarding this RFP should be directed to:

Ronora Stryker
SOA Research Actuary
Phone: 847-706-3614
Email: rstryker@soa.org

Notification of Intent To Submit Proposal

If you intend to submit a proposal, please e-mail written notification by August 14, 2018 to Jan Schuh (JSchuh@soa.org). You may also submit questions prior to this deadline.

Submission of Proposal

Please e-mail a copy of the proposal to Jan Schuh (JSchuh@soa.org).

Proposals must be received no later than August 27, 2018. It is anticipated that all proposers will be informed of the status of their proposal by September 28, 2018 or sooner.

Note: Proposals are considered confidential and proprietary.


The selection of a proposal is conditioned upon and not considered final until a Letter of Agreement is executed by both the Society of Actuaries and the researcher.

The Sponsors reserve the right to not award a contract for this research. Reasons for not awarding a contract could include, but are not limited to, a lack of acceptable proposals or a finding that insufficient funds are available. The Sponsors also reserve the right to redirect the project as is deemed advisable.

The Sponsors plan to hold the copyright to data developed during the research, the report that stems from the research, and to publish the results with appropriate credit given to the researcher(s). The Sponsors anticipate and encourage academic institutions to consider developing additional academic submissions stemming from this project.

The Sponsors generally do not provide funds through research projects that cover academic institution overhead expenses. The Sponsors may choose to seek public exposure or media attention for the research. By submitting a proposal, you agree to cooperate with the Sponsors in publicizing or promoting the research and responding to media requests. Researcher travel to promote or present information stemming from the project may be considered by the Sponsors but should not be made part of the proposal.

The Sponsors may also choose to market and promote the research to members, candidates and other interested parties. You agree to perform promotional communication requested by the Sponsors, which may include, but is not limited to, leading a webcast on the research, presenting the research at an SOA meeting, and/or writing an article on the research for an SOA newsletter.