2022 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2022 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Recipients!

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

Douglas Allenbaugh
Executive Vice President
The Marketing Alliance 

Douglas Allenbaugh is Executive Vice President of The Marketing Alliance (TMA), where he has led the insurance distribution business since 2010. Before joining TMA, Doug worked at the global reinsurance group, Munich Re, where he was responsible for leading and supporting executive-level initiatives including post-merger integration, strategic alliances, and operational efficiency-related projects. Doug also worked at the management consulting firm Accenture, where he specialized in enterprise system solutions. A graduate of Miami University, Doug holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business where he graduated with honors. He is based in St. Louis, MO.

Charles Arnold
Chief Marketing Officer
The Leaders Group

Charles Arnold is the Chief Marketing Officer for The Leaders Group, guiding the overall structure of the firm’s marketing, recruiting, and business development efforts. He resides in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with his wife Allison and their two golden retrievers.

Grace Ata
AVP Software Development

With 17+ years of experience in FinTech and InsurTech, Grace has led the development of several game-changing digital transformation initiatives within the automotive lending sector and Insurance and Wealth Management industries in North America. Grace brings a deep knowledge of the insurance distribution space and extensive network of industry subject matter experts to lead the strategy and development team.

Farron Blanc
VP, Brokerage Distribution & Strategy
Legal & General America

Farron Blanc leads Distribution & Marketing at Legal & General America, leveraging technology to drive Term Life growth in the independent brokerage channel. He is a recovering VC-backed Startup CEO, global reinsurer, corporate Venture Capitalist, life insurance carrier President, BCG Strategy Consultant, and the CMO for Aviva’s Indonesia business.

Christopher Bottaro
SVP, Insurance
Valmark Financial Group

As SVP of Insurance for Valmark Financial Group, Chris Bottaro leads Valmark's life insurance-related business lines and does his best to "Bring the Golden Rule to Life."   He is responsible for the vision, strategy and execution of life insurance marketing, new business, underwriting, and in force solutions.  In this role, he prides himself in partnering with Advisors and insurance carriers to help make the life insurance process simpler and more efficient for clients. Chris has a deep technical risk assessment background and is seen as an UW/NB subject matter expert, having spent the first 12 years of his career in various underwriting production and leadership positions at Lincoln Financial Group in Hartford before relocating to the Twin Cities to join Valmark in February of 2015.  Chris has a B.A. from Boston College, where he majored in Economics, an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, and holds the Series 6 and 26 Registrations. 

Phil Chuba
Vice President, National Account Executive, Independent Distribution

During his 33 years in the noble insurance industry, Phil served as Prudential’s Chief Underwriter and currently leads the Strategic Relationship Management Team for Individual Life.  He has volunteered as a member of the ALU Education Committee, served on the NAILBA Charitable Foundation Board and is an active participant in the events that are part of the Finseca Community.   

Bruce Donaldson
Chief Executive Officer
Simplicity Group Holdings

Mr. Donaldson serves as Simplicity’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Donaldson is responsible for defining the Group’s strategic direction and supporting its various operating businesses.

Jim Duff
President, Tellus Brokerage Connections, Inc & Sr. VP, Crump Life Insurance Services

At Crump, Jim is responsible for the sales and operational growth of the Solution Centers, an internal sales and servicing organization that provides annuity, disability and long term care insurance solutions to the more than 25,000 Crump insurance producers annually. Jim is also responsible for Tellus Brokerage Connections, a national network of independent brokerage general agencies that affiliate with Tellus for carrier access. Jim is a graduate of the University of Richmond. He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with Kortni, his wife of 30 years. They have two grown children, a son, Adam (wife, Rachel) and daughter, Kristin (husband, Cameron).

Debra Gangelhoff
VP and General Manager for Life Market
LexisNexis Risk Solutions

Debra Gangelhoff is Vice President & General Manager of Life Insurance for LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Debra helps execute market planning and early stage product development to support the continued growth of LexisNexis Risk Solutions in the life market. She works with internal and external stakeholders to position the team as a valued partner to life insurers in the use of data and analytics to meet their strategic objectives. Prior to joining LexisNexis Risk Solutions in August 2019, Debra spent more than 20 years in the payments sector. Debra served Synchrony Financial for more than five years, most recently as Vice President for Growth & Innovation where she led strategic planning and cross-functional leadership. Prior to that, she was with GE Capital serving in various leadership roles. Debra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls with a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Jeremy Hallett
Vice President of Quotacy
Highland Capital Brokerage and Quotacy

Jeremy Hallett is co-founder of Quotacy, Inc., a direct-to-consumer digital life insurance brokerage headquartered in Minneapolis. The company’s mission is to help everyone who has loved ones—who depend on them financially—to own a life insurance policy. Mr. Hallett is also CEO of Hallett Financial Group, Inc., a brokerage general agency (BGA) that distributes life insurance, annuities, disability, and long term care products. Hallett Financial has been serving over 2000 insurance agents and financial advisors since 1990. Jeremy’s partnerships—across technology, insurance, and finance—stem from his willingness to spark innovation and his curiosity about what’s possible in life and business. Playing sax and meditating daily keep him happy and humble.

Luke Kaplan
President, Executive Life and Benefits, Life Insurance and Annuity Brokerage

As President of Executive Life and Benefits at Gallagher, Luke is responsible for the strategic direction and growth of life insurance and annuity brokerage as well as executive benefits and planning.  The division’s 200 professionals span 17 locations.  Luke is actively involved in devising and executing strategies for organic growth as well as mergers and acquisitions.  Prior to re-joining Gallagher, where he started his career, Luke co-ran his own general agency that Gallagher acquired in 2017.  Luke’s life insurance career began as a retail life agent before joining Credit Suisse’ Life Finance Group to lead its buy side origination team.

Leah Mahoney, FLMI, PCS, NCCM
Director of Operations
Diversified Brokerage Services

Leah Mahoney has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. In her current role she is well regarded as an innovative and charismatic leader. She has proven skill in resolving complex business and process challenges and has worked extensively building teams and fine-tuning the service experience her team members ultimately provide customers. Her drive and enthusiasm for improving processes and finding solutions is a true asset to building bridges throughout the industry.

Adam Monteverde
Co-Head of National Accounts
John Hancock Insurance 

Adam serves as National Account Vice President at John Hancock with a core focus of helping key distribution partners navigate a path to success and achieve growth targets. Adam plays a critcal role in identyfing customer needs and create strategies to meet those needs. He collaborates across the organization to bridge resources and faciliate how John Hancock can add value and implement actionable and innovative solutions for our partners and their clients. 

Martin Schafer
Chief Distribution Officer

Marty Schafer, Chief Distribution Officer, leads channel distribution and insurance partnerships with third party life insurance distributors and insurance agents. Prior to Ethos, Marty was an SVP at Crump Life Insurance Services, VP at John Hancock, and co-founded Saybrus Partners, a distribution company.

Carlan Snipes
Pacific Life Field Vice President
Broad Market

With over 28 years’ experience, Carlan was first recruited to First Colony Life after graduating from Virginia Tech. She advanced her career in positions such as Customer Service, Product Specialist, and RVP with GE Financial and Genworth. She spent 22 years with Genworth marketing life insurance, annuities and linked benefit products to independent brokerage before joining Pacific Life in 2017.

Lisa Todd
Head of Life & Disability Insurance Distribution
MassMutual Strategic Distributors

Lisa overseesbusiness development, relationship management, wholesaling, marketing, service and operations for Life and Disability Insurance through our third-party distribution partners. Most recently Lisa was Head of MMFA Brokerage Sales where she was responsible for driving top-line sales by expanding existing and establishing new partnerships. Prior to joining MassMutual in 2013, Lisa was with John Hancock for 10 years, in several positions, including leading distribution and product development. Lisa began her professional career at The Hartford and held a variety of roles in operations, product development and distribution. A native of St. Paul Minnesota, Lisa is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. Lisa currently resides in South Boston, Massachusetts. Lisa is a longstanding member of LIMRA’s Brokerage Committee.

Kelli Tormey-Grass
Executive Director & Chief of Staff
LIBRA Insurance Partners

Kelli is Executive Director & Chief of Staff at LIBRA Insurance partners. Prior to her role at LIBRA, she served for 16 years at LifeMark partners as Senior Vice President. She began her career in the industry as Marketing Research Associate at CNA Insurance and is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University.

Todd Villeneuve
Managing Partner
IFC National Marketing

Originally from Fairmont, Minnesota, Todd first entered the financial services industry in 1993. Todd is actively engaged in his community as a member of his local NAIFA organization, Rotary Club and Knights of Columbus. Todd is proud to consider many of his agents as his closest friends and he loves helping them successfully market and grow their agencies. Having an attitude focused on family and friendship is what he strives for at IFC National Marketing. Todd and his wife, Denise, are proud parents of Audrey, Frankie and Tessa. His love of his family and love of life are worn on his sleeve and usually followed by a hardy laugh. Todd enjoys spending time at his cabin with family and friends. He is a huge sports fan, an avid golfer, and a proud University of Minnesota alumnus and booster.

Rachel Wender
Managing Director
TAG Financial Institutions Group

Rachel joined TAG Financial as Managing Director in January 2022 with 13 years of life insurance, senior products, disability income and annuity distribution experience. Prior to TAG, Rachel served as Executive Vice President of Business Development at Ash Brokerage, one of the largest privately-held life insurance and annuity product distribution companies in the United States. While there, Rachel led all merger and acquisition activities, including sourcing, structuring, valuation, due diligence and successful integration of middle-market acquisitions or investments. She also led the strategic financial planning and reporting initiatives. Rachel is a Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA), Life and Health Insurance licensed, and is Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certified. Rachel is a former collegiate swimmer, a 2x Ironman finisher, and yoga instructor. She is also actively involved with Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Three Rivers Yoga Foundation, and The Shepherd’s House for Recovering Veterans. Rachel received her MBA from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Kristin Wills
Senior Vice President Marketing
Hexure (formerly Insurance Technologies)

Kristin has spent more than 20 years with Hexure (formerly insurance technologies). Since 2010, she has served in various leadership roles in the marketing arm of the business, currently as Senior Vice President. She is a graduate of Western Colorado University.


  • View 2020 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE
  • View 2020 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE
  • View 2019 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE