Scott Murphy is the president and CEO of Neenah-based Jewelers Mutual, the leading provider of insurance and loss prevention for both jewelers and individuals. A North Carolina native who spent his career in the insurance industry, Murphy began his tenure in January, 2015. He sat down with Insight Editor Margaret LeBrun to discuss how his passion and the company’s unique business model mesh.
What attracted me to Jewelers Mutual was that this is a 102- year-old stable company, but it still has this entrepreneurial feel to it. A lot of that is the fact we are looking for innovation. We are still small enough to be agile and adapt quickly, and that is really key to our success here. We can truly take advantage of short-term opportunities but still be able to have a long-term focus because of the foundation we have.
While it was the company that sold me on coming here, what also sold me in terms of family, was the community. My entire family and I came up and spent three days in the area and we were amazed at the community feel and how much there is to do that is all community based, such as farmers markets and the theater.
That same goes for Jewelers Mutual. The first thing is it does add true tangible value to its consumers beyond just the insurance coverage it offers. Secondly, it’s a 102-year-old company that’s consistently realized success on a profit and loss standpoint. It’s been able to have that continued success because it really is adding value to its customers.
The second thing is it’s positioned well both for the long term and short term. That was important because the third thing that attracted me to Jewelers Mutual was that the industry it serves is undergoing change. How jewelry is being bought and sold is changing, the threats that exist in the marketplace are changing. Jewelers Mutual is uniquely equipped to go in, take advantage and help with all of those emerging ways jewelry is being bought and sold.
The biggest surprise to me — and to most that aren’t here or in the jewelry industry on a daily basis — is the impact crime has on the industry. It was just eye-opening. We are truly more than a typical insurance company, because the average insurance company says, “I’m going to protect and help fix that car if it gets damaged.” We invest a lot of money and a lot of time and preventative education for our jewelers so they can do the right things to protect their store from being a target for theft or robbery. At the beginning of this year we rolled out a service called Relieve, which is a post-traumatic event counseling service for employees of jewelry stores where an armed robbery occurred.
Even though we are educating jewelers, we are also trying to drive people to us for personalized insurance. We are investing in education on personalized insurance, as well as how to properly take care of the jewelry and how to properly protect jewelry and what not to do, which sometimes is as important as what to do.
There are two things that tie together. The first one is Jewelers Mutual has not only been in the jewelry industry for 102 years, but it has been in Neenah, Wisconsin, for 102 years, and as such, this area is important to us. The community is only as good as its citizens, and we are only as good as the local talent pool, so it’s a win-win situation that is important to us.
We have a couple of reasons why people ought to be able to know who we really are. We have the Ron Harder Gallery. If you like jewelry and you
want to know jewelry and where it comes from, what a great place to come and visit. We are a growing company. If you have a passion for jewelry and if you have a passion for helping and truly interacting with people, I can’t think of a better role than in joining our direct sales, or what we call customer care team.