History of SRIA

A Historical Notes: The Early Days of SRIA

The First Twenty Years

The Southern Risk and Insurance Association (SRIA) had its organizational meeting at the Dinkler Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia on August 25, 1968, during a meeting of the American Risk and Insurance Association (ARIA). This meeting was in response to a letter sent to interested persons on July 29, 1968. That letter mentioned an original mailing sent “several years ago.” It is unclear who should get credit for the original idea, although several persons credit Ken Black.

At that organizational meeting the following officers were elected: President – Ken Black; First Vice President – Ray Solomon; Second Vice President – Bill Dotterweich; Secretary/Treasurer – Linda Fletcher. The following persons were elected as Directors: Ron Horn, E.G. Leverett, Jim Collier, John Stinton, and Frank Schwentker. This group decided to meet in November, 1968 in Washington, D.C., concurrent with the Southern Economics Association (SEA) meeting. The meeting was to consist of committee meetings and committee reports to the members. The first set of bylaws for the organization were approved and dated August 25, 1968. The corrected membership roll that fall contained 81 names.

At the meeting in Washington, Jim Athearn, chairman of the Committee on Nominations, suggested that the officer slate remain in place for 1968-69. That suggestion was accepted, and Ken Black remains the only SRIA President to serve more than one term. The Program Committee planned a meeting for 1969. They put in place the meeting format which has generally been observed over the years, a stress on an “open format” and on research in progress. The officers and directors made two major decisions, to affiliate with SEA and to change the name of the organization to the Southern Association of Insurance Professors. This latter suggestion caused at least one of the original members to leave the organization.

The affiliation with SEA lasted until a breakup and the subsequent founding of the Allied Southern Business Associations (ASBA) in the mid-1970s. The first SRIA meeting with a program was held in November, 1969, with three papers presented and three discussion sessions. The officers and directors submitted the question of the name change to the members, having belatedly realized that it required a ballot as a change in the bylaws. That proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the members in early 1970. Subsequently, revised bylaws were approved, dated February, 1970. Those bylaws stayed in force until 1988.

A Further Note: The Organization in its Twenties

The Post ASBA Era

Having split from ASBA in a rather rancorous parting in the mid-1980’s, SRIA struck out on its own. This independence had as an advantage a much greater availability of meeting sites, because of the size of the organization. Members have had substantial input into meeting sites and benefitted greatly from the 1990’s efforts of a designated meeting planner. The post-ASBA era has also been characterized by efforts to attract outside support for the Annual Meeting, after serious discussion of the choice of having the SRIA treasury subsidize meeting costs or setting the registration fee at a “cover all costs” level.

Other financial issues discussed have included changing our traditional financial statement presentation from a “meeting-to-meeting” basis to a calendar-year basis, approving a short-term investment strategy for liquid assets, a “target minimum balance”, and a revisitation of the Annual Meeting registration fee (including whether the Monday evening social event should be mandatory or optional). As a sign of organizational maturity, the payment of the airfare for a plenary session speaker was approved.

This era also brought discussions on the use of a permanent Executive Director and on the possibility of a name change for the organization. The latter was set aside after a study committee found strong member sentiment for retaining the current name. SRIA gave strong support to the effort by ARIA to convince the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) that a risk management course is a critical component of a business student’s core studies.

The duties of SRIA officers were refined after substantial input by the many persons who had been through the succession of offices. There were brief flirtations with the ideas of combining with another association, SEA or SFA (Southern Finance Association), or of moving the time of the Annual Meeting.

The most intense issue discussed during this era has been the issue of the “second journal”, specifically an alternative to The Journal of Risk and Insurance. Early thought ran to co-sponsoring The Journal of Insurance Issues with the Western Risk and Insurance Association (WRIA). Later SRIA brain-stormed the functions of, and even a mission statement for, the “second journal”.

After yeoman work by a committee headed by Steve Cassidy, then a board member, it was decided to support the ARIA proposal and to consider joint sponsorship by SRIA. After continued discussion, committee work, and negotiation, ARIA “birthed” the “second journal”, which will show SRIA and WRIA as co-sponsors.

Respectfully submitted November, 1996 by Richard Corbett, Florida State University. Material for the first segment came from the extensive files of Ray Solomon, 2nd President of SRIA, and are gratefully acknowledged.