By Jamie Shafer
Much like in our personal lives, churches need the protection that insurance provides. However, for Brotherhood Mutual it’s about more than just protecting an organization’s assets; it’s about building the kingdom as a whole.
Formed over 90 years ago, the company shares on its website that Brotherhood Mutual originated as a mutual aid association, designed by the Mennonite church to protect fellow churches from property damage caused by fires and storms.
The company faced a significant challenge in 1965, when many northern Indiana churches were impacted by Palm Sunday tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service, this was the fourth deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history and the most deadly Indiana outbreak, with 10 tornadoes killing 137 people and injuring 1,200 in the early afternoon and evening hours of April 11, 1965.
The company said that following the severe weather outbreak, they “sustained more than $1 million in losses from customer claims at a time when the policy reserve fund was only slightly more than total claim losses. Even so, company leaders and board members resolved to pay each loss as promptly as possible and impose no rate increases.”
Today their commitment to ministry continues as they support and insure more than 50,000 churches and related ministries. Brotherhood Mutual protects churches by providing property and liability insurance, mission travel insurance, and payroll services.
Tammy Harris, who is the Sales and Operations Manager of their Special Markets Division, said, “I manage an amazing group of people who serve Christian ministries, churches, schools, and camps.” She added that the specific focus of her division is to work with mission-sending organizations, short-term mission travelers, missionaries, and churches.
What makes it more than just a job? “I have the joy of speaking to individuals from ministries who work directly with missions, both domestically and internationally. I enjoy being part of the process of protecting both the individual and the ministry,” says Tammy. “I also get the privilege of hearing how God is working through ministries all over the world and in some really creative ways! As a department, we regularly pray for our ministries and those on the field serving. I truly count it a blessing to have a part in the spreading of God’s Word.”
Nurturing Employees’ Faith
Brotherhood Mutual also focuses on creating a team culture that offers its employees additional opportunities for spiritual growth. Chapel services are held every week on Thursdays, hosted by various employees. The company also provides donations to employees and their families who participate in mission trips, plus one day off each year to serve with a local partner ministry.
The mission of Brotherhood Mutual is: Advancing the Kingdom by Serving the Church. “Every decision from the president down to all 400 employees is made with that mission in mind,” Tammy said. “The culture is one of service to God and to one another.”
When asked what originally inspired this culture, she noted that the foundations were established from the beginning. “This year Brotherhood Mutual will celebrate 100 years, and the culture has always been the same, focused on serving God and each other. Galatians 6:2 is printed on each declaration page of our insurance policies: ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.’”
After serving with Brotherhood Mutual for 10 years, Tammy said she is still grateful each day to be a part of a company that makes a difference in the world. “Employees at Brotherhood Mutual are happy, positive, and respected, which translates into happy, positive, and respectful interactions with customers. Employees are empowered, which translates into faster resolutions for customers. Employees are on the same team, which translates into stepping in and doing whatever we can to help each other and the customer. Our company is customercentric. We want to serve the church, and it shows in all customer interactions.”
As they celebrate their 100-year anniversary, the company will launch some new initiatives. Learn more at brotherhoodmutual.com. Those participating in an upcoming mission trip can also find free resources and insurance information at faithventures.com.
Jamie Shafer is a communications strategist for Fishhook Communications in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband, Eric, have two children.