Last November, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance announced its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following Executive Vice President and CEO Joe Martin' s impending retirement after 40 years of service to the company.
The board of directors named Kevin Murphy, former senior vice president of property and casualty, to lead the company beginning January 2021.
Now, in mid-April Murphy has completed his first 100 days in the role and has already demonstrated he has a promising vision for the company.
Murphy joined Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance in 2000 as the director and chief actuary of product management solutions. In 2008, Murphy was promoted to the position he carried prior to becoming CEO, senior vice president of property and casualty.
He graduated from Franklin College with a bachelor’s degree and earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Miami University.
He and his wife, Kathy, live in Indianapolis and have four adult children.
As Murphy continues to pave the way for the company under his leadership, he has made it clear to the employees and agents that he wants to be approachable and listen to what others have to say about where the company is headed.
Murphy’s latest achievements
“I think my biggest accomplishment is that there hasn’t been any dramatic change thanks to the legacy that Joe Martin left,” said Murphy when asked about his first 100 days. “As CEO, there was no reason to complete an overhaul, only minor tweaks were needed. We’ve made those tweaks effectively and have gained a lot of momentum in the first three months.”
“The first quarter results have been very good; the company is doing really well and that is the direct result of 1,600 people serving our customers and a shared vision.” Murphy said.
Early in the year, Murphy introduced three adjectives that he challenges each employee and agent to embrace. Those are to be: innovative, agile and risk taking.
“We’ve had a small impact on the company culture,” Murphy said. “We are striving to be more transparent and have established innovative, agile and risk taking as the guideposts for which people will accomplish their jobs.”
Our journey to a more inclusive and diverse company
Another focus Murphy is proud of is the ongoing development of the company’s Inclusion and Diversity initiatives.
“We’re interested in extending our inclusion and diversity efforts, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the best thing to do for our business,” Murphy said.
Murphy joked that he could barely represent 55-year-old white males completely, let alone anyone else. He explained that we must do a better job representing everyone within our company. He related a story that while talking to his four 20-something-year-old children, he had an epiphany of how important different voices and perspectives are.
“These are my kids, my flesh and blood; they were raised in my household, and yet they all have dramatically different views from my wife and I and from each other,” Murphy said. “I know we are stronger when we are representative of the communities we serve. We need to determine the best decisions for the company and the only way to fully do that is to listen to diverse voices and perspectives.”
What does the future look like for company during and after COVID-19?
On April 5, 2021, our company moved forward to the next phase of reintegration that allows Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance to safely reopen and reintroduce employees and clients into our offices. At that time, all county offices reopened to the public and additional employees returned to the home office in Indianapolis. All offices continue to adhere to safety guidelines and the company continues to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Indiana for ongoing guidance.
Murphy stated that reintegration is a major accomplishment for the company. He equates it with a light at the end of the tunnel and an imminent return to the new normal, taking steps toward an environment of less restrictions, less fear and more interaction.
Along with the newest phase in our reintegration plan, came a change to the home office dress code policy. Since the home office is not open to the public, the company implemented a “dress for your day” policy.
“The dress code is a big deal because of the impact it can have on culture and employee morale,” Murphy said. “The executive leadership team has a significant amount of confidence and trust in employees to do the right thing. We trust that they will present themselves appropriately.”
Another aspect of this phase was the partial implementation of new work designations based upon roles—100% onsite, 100% remote and flexible. A subset of employees with roles designated as flexible began working new schedules, which includes being onsite 50% of the time. According to Murphy, very few things can be done in a vacuum, most employees are working with others to complete tasks and projects because our work is interconnected.
“We are confident that collaboration can be done better in person, but we did learn that it didn’t have to be in person as much as we thought,” Murphy said. “Though we did very well, there were more than a handful of times when things didn’t go well or slipped through the cracks because of the remote work style of the majority of home office employees. The new schedule allows us to decrease the number of times those scenarios come up, while still providing many employees flexibility in their schedules.”
Murphy beams with pride when he says, “I am crazy proud of what our employees and agents have done to come together during and through these unusual times. I’m also crazy excited about our ability to stay together and emerge stronger than when we started.”