Church Mutual Partners with WIPPS to research diversity in north central Wisconsin

Church Mutual Partners with WIPPS to research diversity in north central Wisconsin

October 19, 20213 min read

MERRILL, Wis. – Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1, is partnering with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), a unit of the University of Wisconsin System, to research public perceptions of diversity, inclusion and access, and identify opportunities for positive change in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln counties.

Church Mutual, a national insurance carrier headquartered in Lincoln County, will provide $50,000 to WIPPS to conduct the benchmark research. Study insights will inform ongoing work to improve and enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the cities, towns and rural regions of both counties.

“We can’t address challenges, make improvements or reinforce what works well without objective research,” said Rich Poirier, Church Mutual’s president and CEO. “Some residents say this area embraces diversity and inclusion, while others believe we have deep-rooted biases that counteract efforts to make everyone feel welcome and valued. At Church Mutual, we want to be agents for change. That has to start with an accurate assessment of our current state and the perceptions of people in Marathon and Lincoln counties.”

Said Eric Giordano, Ph.D., executive director of WIPPS, “The recent controversy in Marathon County over a proposed ‘Community for All’ resolution has led to unexpected divisions, hurt, concern and a feeling among some that voices are not being heard. Others have openly questioned whether our communities are welcoming to diverse peoples and points of view. Church Mutual is supporting us in our quest to let data, rather than rhetoric, tell the story. Like Church Mutual, our goal is to inform, understand and facilitate positive change.”

WIPPS is organizing a research steering committee representing a variety of stakeholders to help direct the project. Research is expected to begin (date), and results will be shared with the public through a variety of channels.

About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:

• A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
• Wisconsin 75 Top Private Company by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020
• Wisconsin 75 Distinguished Performer: Innovation by Deloitte US 2019
• 2021 Gallup Culture Transformation Award recipient
• 2020 Women and Diversity Award recipient from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association
• Futuremakers Partner by Wisconsin Technical College System
• Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
• Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
• 2018-2019 Employer of the Year by Northcentral Technical College

For more information, visit

About the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service
Founded in 2007, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), is a unit of the University of Wisconsin System. It’s mission is to educate and engage the residents of Wisconsin, develop future leaders and help communities meet identified needs. For more information, visit

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1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.

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