Meet the Team: Life Insurance Department

Sep 15, 2020 4 min read

At Farm Bureau Financial Services, we’re people helping people. Our life insurance department team members are great examples of the ways we make a real difference in the lives of client/members! Read on to meet some of our life insurance employees.


Heather Morrison, Actuary

Heather is no stranger to Farm Bureau; she grew up on a farm and her parents had insurance from Farm Bureau Financial Services. Their agent was someone they knew well and trusted. When she returned to Des Moines after living on the east coast, she was very interested in a career here. She says, “I really felt like Farm Bureau was invested in its employees and our local community.” She was also drawn to the size of the company, “Farm Bureau is large enough to have a variety of products and to constantly be looking for way to improve our products for our agents and client/members, but small enough to be able to see the impact of the work we do each day.”

In her current role, Heather is the leader of the Life Product Development and Pricing team. “My day-to-day varies a lot depending on what stage of development and pricing our current products are in.”

When a product is in its early stages, she works with other teams (like marketing, compliance and life systems) to design the product and any special features they want to incorporate. After that, she and the team work to establish competitive pricing for the product. As a product nears launch, she works with the actuarial model development team to begin implementing the new product.

As an actuary at Farm Bureau, Heather says, “Most people don’t realize the wide range of work actuaries at our company do. We have teams dedicated to product developing and pricing, financial reporting, inforce management and modeling, risk management, data analytics, and model development. All of these teams work closely with other non-actuarial teams across the company. It allows us to really make a positive impact on the company.”


Lisa Cheney, Director- Life Operations

A second-generation Farm Bureau employee, Lisa officially started in 1993 but worked summers and holiday breaks while attending college. “My dad would bring my sister and I with him on Saturdays and we would clean desks and pretend to talk on the office phones. It was great fun. I even learned to drive in the Farm Bureau parking lot, which is an experience I later shared with my own children.”

In her current role, Lisa is the Director of Life Operations. “My role is to oversee many of the business processes and staff that process transactions on life insurance. I am there to support the vision of management in terms of procedures for handling life insurance transactions and ensure our work is processed in the most efficient and effective means possible.”

When asked about her daily routines, she says, “Impossible! My job changes every day. At the core, I review how we are performing and assist supervisors on work direction. I also mentor others throughout the company.”

“My favorite part about my role is seeing others succeed in their roles, perhaps mastering something that was previously a challenge or offering an opportunity to someone who wasn’t expecting it. I enjoy recognizing others for a job well-done.” 


Jackson Waechter, Actuarial Director

At first, Jackson joined the Farm Bureau team because, as he explains, “It was the closest place to my home in Topeka, Kansas that had a job opening! This was during the financial crisis. However, the more important part is that I’ve stayed here for the past 11 years because I love the culture and the people at Farm Bureau and the city of Des Moines.”

As an actuarial director, Jackson leads the risk management team, which covers a wide variety of topics. He says, “My team administers all of the life company’s reinsurance, as well as our hedging operations from an actuarial perspective.” He continues, “I also have two new roles on my team related to operational risk management and underwriting governance. Lastly, I chair the company’s Rate Setting Committee.”

When asked what someone might not know about a role as an actuary at Farm Bureau, Jackson says, “Many people might think of actuaries as number crunchers, but I spend very little of my time doing that. More of my time is spent analyzing results, communicating insights, and providing recommendations to management. There are many days where I use more of my communication skills than my math skills.”


Dai Whitaker, Life Business Analyst

Starting as a consultant in 2013 and as a full-time employee in 2014, Dai says, “I was drawn to Farm Bureau because it’s a mid-sized and well-respected organization and Des Moines is such a great city for young professionals.”

As a life business analyst, Dai’s role is to serve as the liaison between business and IT. Like most roles at Farm Bureau, Dai’s day is never the same. She explains, “Typically, about half of my days are spent in meeting discussions around the testing and prioritization of various business projects. The other half are spent formalizing testing, documentation, communication and coordination between the business unit and IT.”

As a business analyst, Dai must have a good understanding about how our IT teams function. “While I don’t code, I do need to know how to interpret IT lingo, system logic, as well as have a good understanding about coding changes that our IT team implements.”

“My favorite part about my role at Farm Bureau is that no day is the same. I am continually. I also like that I have a lot of exposure to various areas and departments that I otherwise would not.”  

Consider a Career at Farm Bureau

When you join Farm Bureau, you’re joining an organization where you’ll find opportunity for growth and learning. The life insurance department is just one of many great departments at our company. If you’re ready to take the first step, start by applying for one of our current openings or joint our Talent Network to connect with our recruiters and hiring managers today.

Want to learn more?

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