“Ask Why. It’s how we learn new skills, grow as a team, and invent. Without asking ‘why?’ we’d never get to the deeper understanding needed to create breakthroughs.”

Executive Summary

Branch Insurance Co-Founder and CEO Steve Lekas asks a lot of questions—and he doesn't give up on a mission. Those two character traits become clear when Lekas tells the story of his career journey that ultimately led him to create a mission-driven company striving to take insurance back to its roots as a "force for communal good" and a nonprofit called Safety Nest, aimed at reducing the uninsured population in the U.S.

Those are the words that describe the No. 1 principle of Branchers—employees of Columbus, Ohio-based Branch Insurance, an InsurTech that offers nearly instant bundled personal lines insurance at prices below more established brands. They also are among the first words that job seekers landing on the career page of Branch’s website will see, along with eight more principles that define the culture—what Branchers call their roots.

It’s that first root—Ask Why—that probably best explains how Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Steve Lekas ultimately came to connect with the idea of building a company around a mission “to make insurance less expensive so more people can be covered.” But the exact question of why insurers were offering policies that many people could not afford wasn’t the initial one that nagged Lekas. The one that started him down the road to form Branch was, “Why aren’t we growing?”—and it came to him when he was working in a senior strategy role at Allstate over a decade ago.

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