Tom Crawford

tom-crawford-standingWhen you meet Tom Crawford, he looks you in the eye, listens to what you are saying, and treats you with the utmost respect. He thrives on communication and the free exchange of ideas, and considers clear and frequent communication a key component of a successful organization. These qualities, along with over 50 years of insurance industry experience, are part of the reason Thomas W. Crawford was named chairman of the Board of Directors of Crawford & Company in January 2008. Crawford served as president and CEO from 2004 until his Board appointment, during which time he worked closely with current CEO, Jeffrey T. Bowman, sharing key insights and guidance to ensure a smooth and planned transition.

Tom believes that effective communication is key to a company’s success. His commitment to the exchange of ideas is reflected in the many leadership initiatives he implemented at Crawford’s helm, including periodic meetings and message sharing with Crawford’s associates at all levels, especially those on the front lines. “There is not greater resource of knowledge than the people who work in the field. They interact with our customers on a daily basis and observe our quality of service first hand, Tom said. These interactions allowed employees a forum to ask questions and receive clarification on the company’s direction and goals.

Such vision is also part of the reason Tom was awarded the prestigious Turknett Leadership Character Award in the CEO category, sponsored by Turknett Leadership Group, KPMG and Kennesaw State University, in February 2007.

Tom believes that one of the most important forms of communication is praise. This is not surprising as employer recognition has had a great impact on Tom’s life. When he began his career as a clerk for Allstate Insurance Company, management acknowledged his contributions and encouraged him frequently. This recognition led to his appointment in the Executive Development Program, where he held a wide variety of insurance industry jobs including underwriting division supervisor, regional controller, claim adjuster, licensed agent and services manager.

“I challenged myself to do a good job, and I was fortunate to work for a company that recognized performance,” Tom said. “When supervisors and managers acknowledge employees’ contributions, I believe their employees contribute more. For this reason, I encourage managers to praise people and the contributions that they make.”

Throughout his career, Tom has been recognized for performing well in challenging positions. His employers learned early on that he was the one you could count on to solve the tough problems. In 1975 at Allstate, he developed a claims program, used for many years, saving the company millions of dollars. He then moved to CNA Insurance Company, where he held positions as vice president of Personal Lines, vice president of corporate services and regional manager. In 1984, he started The Southern Heritage Insurance Company in Atlanta, the first public personal lines insurance company founded in the U.S. since 1950. The company was bought by GEICO Insurance Company in 1991. He left Southern Heritage in 1996 to become president, CEO and chairman of Prudential Property and Casualty Company, where he significantly strengthened the operation financially over a three-year period of time. In 1999, he was promoted to president of Prudential Distribution Systems for the U.S.

It was Tom’s thirst for a challenge that drew him to Crawford & Company. “It fit perfectly with my background,” Tom said. “I enjoy building an environment where people can realize their personal goals and objectives while contributing to the success of the company.”

Tom was also attracted to Crawford for its location. Throughout his career, job transfers have taken Tom all over the country, but during his tenure with Southern Heritage, Atlanta became the place he called home. After accepting the position with Prudential, he relocated to Newark, N.J. But when he retired from Prudential in 2002, Tom returned to Atlanta to enjoy the city he had grown to love.

Another reason Tom returned to Atlanta was to be close to his family. Tom’s strong sense of family stems from his father, who was a railroad engineer with five children. To this day, Tom honors and remembers his father by collecting scale steam locomotives.

One of the things Tom learned from his father was the importance of balancing family and career. “I think the greatest part of a person’s life is their family,” said Tom. “Maintaining the proper balance between family and career is one of the keys to a successful life. While your career will bring both successes and failures, your family is what makes the successes sweet and the failures bearable.”

Tom’s belief in maintaining the balance of family and career became the central message of the three commencement speeches he has been honored to deliver. His first commencement speech was to the Rutgers University business graduates of 1999 and the second was to the University of Georgia’s MBA graduates of 2001 and the third was to the graduates of Gainesville State College.

Tom is extremely proud to have delivered keynote speeches where he has the chance to talk about many subjects he deems important to the future of the industry. When Tom’s not speaking, working or attending association and board meetings, he enjoys power boating. After his retirement from Prudential in 2002, Tom and his wife Chris traveled 6,128 miles by boat up the East Coast, across Canada and the Great Lakes, back down the Mississippi River to the Tom Bigby Waterway in Tennessee, through Mobile Bay and around the Gulf of Mexico, Key West, Fla., and ending in Amelia Island. This trip is known as “The Great Loop.”

While he enjoyed his retirement and boating adventure, Tom quickly realized that he wasn’t ready for the uneventful daily routine of retirement. Shortly after returning from his trip, Tom was presented with the opportunity to join Crawford & Company.  Tom served as President and CEO from 2004 to 2008 when he was named Chairman of Board.  In December 2009, he retired from this position to concentrate on his new venture – Crawford Corporate Coaching.

As CEO and founder of Crawford Corporate Coaching, he coaches senior leadership using the Crawford Management System which he perfected during his long career.  His goal in each engagement is to build long term sustainable results for his clients.

Vital Statistics

Birthplace: Roanoke, VA

Marital Status: Married to Chris

Children: Son Craig, daughters Michelle and Cassie, and four grandchildren

Current and Past Industry & Professional Boards:

  • - Chairman, Alliance of American Insurers
  • - Director, National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII)
  • - Director, LIMRA International
  • - Director, Insurance Information Institute (ISO)
  • - Director, Highway Safety Institute
  • - Director, GAMA
  • - Director, LOMA International
  • - Director, American College, Bryn-Mawr, PA

Current and Past Professional Memberships:

  • - Director, Independent Insurance Association of America (IIAA)
  • - International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Board of Directors
  • - Member, Southeastern Managers Association
  • - President, Southern Underwriters Association
  • - IIAA Governing Committee, Future One Task Force

Current and Past Educational Boards:

  • - Director, University of Georgia, Terry School of Business
  • - Director, Rutgers University Business School
  • - Advisory Board, Monmouth University
  • - Chairman, Advisory Board, St. John Vianney High School
  • - Board Member, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Monmouth County

Board Positions

Current Board Positions

  • - Chairman,Superior Access
  • - Chairman,Atlanta Leadership Symposium
  • - Director, Duck Creek Technologies
  • - Advisory Board Director, FirstMark Capital
  • - Director, NETCOMP
  • - Director, National CEO Netweavers
  • - President, Atlanta Chapter CEO Netweavers

Past Board Positions

  • - Chairman, Crawford & Company
  • - Chairman, Alliance of American Insurers
  • - Director, National Association of Independent Insurers
  • - Director, LIMRA International
  • - (ISO) Director, Highway Safely Institute
  • - Director, GAMMA International
  • - Director, Life Office Management Association International
  • - Director, American College Bryn Mawr, PA
  • - Advisory Board, UGA Terry College of Business
  • - Advisory Board, Rutgers University Business School
  • - Advisory board , Monmouth University
  • - Board Member, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Monmouth, NJ
  • - Director, Highway Safety Institute
  • - Director, Independent Insurance Association of America
1965Roanoke, VA
Begins career in insurance industry as a clerk in underwriting
1968Roanoke, VA
Participates in Executive Development Program
1971Atlanta, GA
Zone Underwriter over audits in the Southwest
1976Atlanta, GA
Transfers to Atlanta Branch (four state operation)
1978Chicago, IL
Underwriting Vice President for Personal Lines
1981Chicago, IL
Vice President of Corporate Services
1984Atlanta, GA
The Southern Heritage Insurance Co.
Founder, President, CEO, & Board Member
1991Atlanta, GA
purchases Southern Heritage. Tom remains President & CEO of Southern Heritage
1996Holmdel, NJ
Becomes President, CEO & Chairman of Prudential Property & Casualty Company (PRUPAC)
1999Newark, NJ
Becomes President Retail Distribution
2002Atlanta, GA
Retires from Prudential;
moves back to Atlanta
2004Atlanta, GA
Crawford & Company
Named President & CEO
2008Atlanta, GA
Crawford & Company
Named Chairman of the Board
2009Atlanta, GA
Crawford Corporate Coaching
Founder, President