Stony Brook Works to Close the Employment Gap in Long Island’s Insurance Field


IIABSC’s Chris Allenger and Eric Keiffert at the 2017 Stars of Stony Brook Gala.

Independent Agents and Brokers Foundation Create Chair in Insurance and Risk Management at Stony Brook College of Business

Chris Allenger and his colleagues at the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Suffolk County (IIABSC) had been struggling with a problem faced by the insurance industry around the country: a shrinking pool of new professionals and a growing deficit in their field. Long Island’s insurance industry professionals make up an aging demographic, and it’s projected that about 30,000 plan to retire soon, leaving employers scrambling to find young talent to fill the void. As the IIABSC strategized solutions that would promote the importance of insurance and risk management and grow the industry on Long Island, Stony Brook University emerged as a natural partner.

Thanks to the generous $1,500,000 investment and partnership of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Suffolk County, an endowed chair in insurance and risk management is being established at Stony Brook University’s College of Business to address this issue. Allenger, scholarship and chair committee leader and president of the Bay Harbor Group of the IIABSC, said of partnering with Stony Brook’s College of Business, “An insurance program at the University level will allow students to see that it’s a lucrative field alongside majors like accounting, law or architecture, for example. By implementing this chair at Stony Brook, we’re looking to create a proper educational path for those interested or currently unaware of the value of a degree in insurance.”

The Independent Agents Foundation Endowed Chair in Insurance and Risk Management will generate a depth of scholarship that will attract and retain the brightest minds in the insurance field to Stony Brook. The recognition and support for a distinguished scholar in the area will also help College of Business students and faculty to develop deeper relationships with industry partners.

Manuel London, dean of and distinguished professor at the College of Business, noted that when the endowed chair and a focused curriculum are in place, Stony Brook’s College of Business will become the recognized resource for the insurance and risk management industry and for those who seek to enter the field in the Suffolk County region. “Furthermore, the recognition and support for a distinguished scholar in this area will afford opportunities for the College of Business to develop deeper relationships with industry partners, reciprocally benefiting current students and practitioners in the field,” London said.

“Endowed faculty are critical to top public research universities as a means of attracting and retaining scholars at the forefront of their fields,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “Thanks to the vision and generosity of the Independent Agents and Brokers Foundation, the Chair will assist Stony Brook to fully develop the curriculum in this area, educate students in the importance of financial risk management and develop their interest in insurance industry careers. We’re proud to lead the charge in this effort.”

Dexter A. Bailey Jr., senior vice president of University Advancement, expects that the new Chair will be a model for other industry partners to make a multifaceted impact at Stony Brook with students and faculty.

This new endowed chair is a product of a long relationship between Stony Brook and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Suffolk County. Since 2014, the IIABSC has funded a $30,000 commitment toward student scholarships, an endeavor that will continue along with the chair’s establishment. Chris Allenger explained, “While our colleagues across the country are faced with the same challenges as us, not all of them are as fortunate as us to have a strong academic partner right here in our backyard. And we look forward to our continued work together.”

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