2020 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2020 Independent Distribution 20 Recipients!






Learn more about 20 of the industry’s innovators and trailblazers:

Bryan AdamsBryan Adams
Co-Founder & CEO
Integrity Marketing Group

Bryan Adams leads the day-to-day operations of the company. Bryan also serves on the Board of Directors of Integrity. Bryan is the Founder of Legacy Safeguard, LLC a company dedicated with helping members leave a lasting legacy and being remembered long after they’re gone. Bryan is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in the Senior Market and speaks frequently across the country about the importance of helping families on one of the most difficult days of their lives.

Andy AlbrightAndy Albright
National Agents Alliance

Andy Albright is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, and motivational speaker. Albright co-founded National Agents Alliance (aka The Alliance) in 2002 and quickly helped it grow into one of the country’s largest and most successful insurance marketing organizations, specializing in life event marketing and sales insurance marketing organization in the United States.

Dan AllisonDan Allison
Managing Partner
Brokers Clearing House

Along with his partner, Debbie Hannam, he acquired the firm roughly four years ago and they’ve grown more than 400% during that period of time. With a background in clinical psychology and an 18 year track record of coaching some of the most successful RIA’s in the world through his other consulting firm, Feedback Marketing Group, Dan has gained unique insight into how to integrate insurance services into wealth management practices.

Tim Ash Tim Ash
Ash Brokerage

Tim Ash is known as a visionary in the financial services community. He is an industry leader who envisions a future where insurance is easy, affordable and an essential part of a sound financial plan. As CEO of Ash Brokerage, Tim has fostered an environment of success with team-focused empowerment and client-centered service. He has built a culture where people not only believe in what they do, but more importantly, they understand the reason behind their efforts. Everyone at Ash Brokerage knows their work makes a difference — in the lives of their clients and their communities.

Michael Ashwill

Chief Marketing Officer/Principal
Borden Hamman Insurance Marketing

Ashwill oversees case design, recruiting, and sales development at Borden Hamman Insurance Marketing. He joined the agency in 2006 to work with his parents, Reed and Marian Ashwill and sister, Christi Daughenbaugh. After a few months of studying, Reed told him to go start recruiting. He suggested he start with P&C agents because they probably wouldn’t know much more about life insurance than he did at the time. Since contracting over a hundred agents in his first few months, he has been working with non-traditional agents finding innovative ways to make selling life insurance as fun and easy as possible.

Jeff BarkerJeff Barker

SVP, Brokerage Distribution and Independent Wholesaling, Life Insurance

In this role, Barker is responsible for leading and driving sales for the Life Brokerage channel for AIG Financial Distributors, the U.S. life and retirement distribution organization for American International Group, Inc. (AIG). He joined AIG in December of 2012 as Divisional Vice President, Western Division, AIG Life Brokerage. Mr. Barker has over 40 years of experience in the life insurance industry. Prior to joining AIG, he served as Independent Channel Head – Life for MetLife where he managed the organization’s third-party business. Previously, he served as National Sales Vice President for Travelers Life & Annuity where he managed the firm’s independent life insurance business.

Jenny Canas Jenny Canas

Vice President of Product, Underwriting and Operations
SelectQuote Insurance Services

Jenny Canas has been a leader at SelectQuote Insurance Services for almost thirty-three years. In her role, she oversees product, underwriting, and operations.

Rob Carney Rob Carney

Crump Life Insurance Services

Rob is responsible for setting and driving the strategic direction of the company and its 1,000–plus teammates to achieve its growth objectives through service excellence, process efficiencies, and innovation. Joining in 2004, Rob has held a variety of roles including oversight of the company’s institutional businesses (including Crump’s wholesale National Accounts and TIME, a Crump company, Crump’s point of sale business), business development, and institutional underwriting; managing carrier relations, marketing, the product organizations (life insurance, annuities, long term care, disability insurance, and life settlements), advanced sales, and information technology development; and being the strategic architect of the Tellus Brokerage Connections sales channel. Before Crump, Rob worked for a major northeast life insurance carrier as vice president of business management in individual life, after rising through other roles.

Pete ChrisosPete Chrisos

Vice President and National Account Manager
Protective Life Insurance Company

Pete Chrisos has more than 41 years of insurance industry experience. He began his career in 1979 at North American Company for Life and Health Insurance working in multiple areas of the company before starting his career as a as a Senior Life Underwriter. He joined the Zurich Life Underwriting Team in 1998 as a Senior Life Underwriter and Sales Support Manager.

He began establishing his career as a Sales Vice President in the brokerage community in 2001. Pete joined Protective Life in 2006 and is currently a National Account Manager in the Brokerage Distribution channel, managing relationships with multiple strategic marketing organizations.

Tracey EdgarTracey Edgar

Vice President of Sales

Tracey Edgar leads all Care Solutions sales and distribution (bank, broker dealer and brokerage). She is a national speaker on the topic of “The Long-Term Care Crisis in America” and has more than 20 years of experience helping distribution with strategic direction, planning and marketing. She is adept at working with all levels of an organization for optimal sales success. Edgar’s professional experience includes that of critical care nursing, specializing in emergency medicine. She worked as a trauma and charge nurse at a Level 1 Trauma Center-designated hospital for five years. She also served nine years in the military — three years of active duty and six years with the Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic, crew chief and master fitness trainer.

Kurt Fasen Kurt Fasen, LLIF, LUTCF

Sales & Marketing Executive
Diversified Brokerage Services

Kurt joined DBS as one of the members of the executive team after 20+ years in senior leadership roles with VOYA/ING. He oversees all of sales, marketing, business development and case design at DBS and plays an integral role in the continued growth and success of the organization. He has been instrumental in building and attracting additional sales channels, and his insight and forward-thinking nature has led to many of the firm’s decisions to invest in new technology platforms. He has also been a key figure in a major reorganization, leaving the company well positioned for future change and evolution. Kurt boasts a strong background in the financial services industry with over 30 years of experience, most recently as Senior Vice President of the Individual Life Insurance and Annuity division for Voya. Kurt holds several industry affiliations and has served on numerous industry committees and organizations.

Sylvia GordonSylvia Gordon

Gordon Marketing

I was born into an insurance family and defiantly told my parents that I would “never” go into the business. Here I am, happily in the family business, the president of Gordon Marketing and 2 of my kids are now too. My greatest pleasure is to remain in touch with the agents that we train and support. I love to personally conduct training workshops, CE classes and clients seminars. I still sell a few policies each month so I can train from an agent’s perspective. I’m all over social media and train agents how to get leads from LinkedIN to Tik Tok and every platform in between. Insurance is a relationship business and it is so gratifying to have such a warm industry that helped mentor me and allowed me to grow. Thank you to all who came before me and I’m available to mentor all you that come after me.

Sheryl HickersonSheryl Hickerson
Females and Finance

An international speaker on social and digital marketing strategies for financial services organizations, Sheryl Hickerson has worked with thousands of professionals to grow the presence of their financial services profession through online platforms. In 2018, Sheryl started Females and Finance, a private online membership organization dedicated to fostering recruitment, training, and advancement of women in a financial service or financial technology role. Membership today recently crested 3,000 professionals with no signs of letting up. After 30 years in financial services, Sheryl has dedicated her professional life to promoting better networking and diversity initiatives within her community.

Steven KatzSteven J. Katz
Chief Optimist
Premier Brokerage Services, Inc.

Steven has been a recognized leader in life insurance brokerage for over 30 years. He started as a career agent and moved into the wholesale end of the business, building the brokerage division of Chubb Life from ground zero to a great success. A strong focus on impaired risk and the affluent marketplace gave Steven the foundation he needed to start his own agency, Premier Brokerage Services Inc., in 1995, which has proudly celebrated a milestone of 25 years of excellence in the industry. Premier is a member of LIBRA Insurance Partners, a powerful union of the country’s most distinguished brokerage agencies.

Bill Kauffman Bill Kauffman,CLU®, ChFC®, LLIF

Vice President
Senior Market Sales' Financial Solutions

Bill Kauffman leads sales and marketing for Senior Market Sales' Financial Solutions division, which includes annuities, life insurance and long-term care insurance. Under Bill’s direction, SMS has added a number of value-added programs to help agents and advisors grow their business, including Total Social Security®, Income ArchiTech®, Client Stream, Sales Forum and the SMS 360 business planning process. Bill started in the insurance industry as an agent for Mutual of Omaha nearly 40 years ago. He still relies on that field experience in his current role as he and his staff work to help SMS agents and advisors grow their business and meet their clients’ needs.

Doug MasseyDoug Massey

EVP of Sales and Relationship Management
Insurance Technologies

Doug defines, manages, and directs strategy and the overall sales and client relationship management operations for Insurance Technologies. Doug is a 30-year veteran of the insurance and financial services technology space, helping streamline and automate the marketing and sales of insurance products. Doug helped grow his first software company at the age of 21. He has helped develop three successful startups, InsurQuote, Blue Frog Solutions, and CapitalRock, and worked with firms across the industry to automate the sale and processing of annuities and life insurance.

Joann Mattson

Vice President, Strategy and Business Consulting
Highland Capital Brokerage

Joann Mattson is responsible for leading projects tied to Highland’s digital strategy as well as to the overarching strategic initiatives impacting its enterprise strategic roadmap.
She came to Highland via the acquisition of Four Seasons Financial Group, where she was a founding partner and administrator since 1993. During that time, Joann served in varied rolls from operations to marketing and sales, most recently as Vice President of Administration. As she is fond of saying, “There is not one job in brokerage that I have not done at one time or another!” Joann is very passionate about the life insurance industry and using both her home office and life brokerage experience to move the life insurance industry forward for the next generation. She has been a licensed insurance agent for over 25 years.

Alan ProtzelAlan S. Protzel, MBA, CLU, ChFC

Senior Vice President
The Marketing Alliance

My first 29 years were spent with 29 bosses in a wide variety of experiences from field sales and sales management to Home Office duties all focused on growing and supporting the distribution of fixed and variable life insurance and related products. I have worked in carrier, PPGA and brokerage distribution with major projects involving highly innovative digital sales support, Advanced Underwriting, illustration system development, product launches and management and monetization of in-force blocks of business.

Mike Smith Mike Smith

The Brokerage

Mike Smith entered the insurance business in 1993 as a marketing and broker service representative at The Brokerage Inc. Presently, he is the President of The Brokerage, an insurance marketing organization licensed in all 50 states. The Brokerage specializes in life, health, financial, senior insurance products, and marketing services. Throughout his career, Mike has been recognized by his peers with numerous, prestigious accolades including the Donna Carnall Career Achievement Award (FWAHU), the Hollis Roberson Award (TAHU) and the Dallas NAIFA Advisor of the Year. Mike is currently serving as the NAHU Chairman of the Medicare Advisory Group and the NAHU Chairman of the FMO Advisory Council.

John ZiambrasJohn Ziambras
President and CEO

AIMCOR Group’s mission of innovation in developing new markets and achieving steady, sustainable and ethical growth aligns perfectly with John’s professional track record, goals and values. Under John’s direction, AIMCOR continues to achieve double-digit annual sales and revenue growth and has established itself as one of the industry’s premier National Insurance Marketing and Distribution Organizations. AIMCOR’s multi-year strategy entails the continued growth and support of its stronghold in the independent producer channel, expansion into the institutional and alternative distribution space via its AIMCOR Enterprise Insurance Group (EIG) platform, as well as the leveraging of new and innovative technology trends to create new avenues for consumer engagement for protection and retirement products. Prior to his leadership role at AIMCOR Group, John was the Managing Director and General Manager of the Insurance and Retirement Services division at the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC) in New York.
  • View 2019 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE