Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Awards

Congratulations to the 2019 Independent Distribution 20 Recipients!

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

Amber PateAmber Pate
Executive Director 
Certification for Long Term Care
Amber oversees CLTC's operations and provides important oversight for the organization's important functions and programs, including sales and development, graduate benefits and retention, classroom and online training, communications, and more. She joined the organization in 2008 as Director of Graduate Benefits. Her passion for long-term care runs deep as she watched her grandmother's mental health deteriorate due to Alzheimer's and has witnessed the benefits of proper extended care planning and how it can protect a family. Her mission at CLTC is to provide professionals with the necessary tools to educate their clients on the importance of having a long-term care plan. Amber earned a BA in public relations and business management from the University of South Carolina. She currently resides in South Carolina with her husband and son.

Bill ShelowWilliam J. Shelow, Jr. CLU®, ChFC®, CPCU®, LLIF
LIBRA Insurance Partners
William “Bill” Shelow is a sought-after speaker, author and thought leader within the financial industry. As CEO of one of the largest insurance marketing organizations and a career spanning more than three decades in the insurance industry, Shelow is widely known for his passion, insights and innovation in his work closing gaps between carriers, agencies, agents and consumers in life insurance distribution. Prior to joining LIBRA (formerly LifeMark Partners), Bill was President of Duncan Financial Group and CEO of Wealth Preservation and Management t/a Atlantic Financial Group. In that role Bill helped to significantly grow the BGA, increasing revenue fourfold in three years. He also oversaw the management of six other business units of Duncan Financial Group, the parent company of Atlantic Financial Group.

Brian HaneyBrian Haney
Founder and Vice President
The Haney Company
Brian has been in the Financial Services Business since 2003, working  with a diverse group of clients representing a slice of the Washington D.C. marketplace. As a native of the Washington area, he grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, attending high school in Bethesda. He founded The Haney Company with his father 7 years ago, to combine 2 generations of industry experience. With more than a decade of  experience in Banking, Investments, Asset management and insurance, Brian's expertise and keen insights provide organizations, businesses and individuals with unique and innovative strategies to meet their insurance needs and financial goals. The marriage between his father’s association/non-profit expertise and his private industry background give the Haney Company a substantial edge in the marketplace.
Chris OrestisChris Orestis
President, LifeCare Xchange 

Chris Orestis is an over 23-year veteran of both the  insurance and long-term care industries, a nationally known  senior care advocate, acknowledged expert on insurance, life settlements, and long-term care issues. He is a former DC lobbyist and political expert, and very well known in the world of life and health insurance brokerage distribution. His career began working in the White House and for the Senate Majority Leader on Capitol Hill. From that point, he spent the next several years representing the health and life insurance industry as a lobbyist in Washington, DC and in the states. In 2007, he was the first to focus the use of life settlements as a tax-free vehicle for seniors to pay for Long-Term Care through the creation of an LTC-HSA. Chris is a frequent industry speaker, and the author of books Help on the Wayand A Survival Guide to Aging”.

Craig CollinsJ. Craig Collins
President & Executive Director
Insurance Designers of America
J. Craig Collins is a 42-year veteran of the insurance  industry. He began his insurance career as an agent in 1977. He currently serves as President and Executive Director for Insurance Designers of America (IDA), one of the nation’s oldest and largest Independent Marketing Organizations, and is responsible for national leadership of more than 50 of the most respected brokerage general agencies. Additionally, he is responsible for general business development including creating strategic business initiatives and working with insurance companies and institutional customers to implement those plans and deliver high quality business. Prior to joining Insurance Designers, he was Senior Vice President at Highland Capital Brokerage and was Senior Vice President, ING U.S. Inc. (now Voya Financial), where he led the brokerage distribution channel and later co-managed the company’s Independent Life Insurance division.

David R. WickershamDavid R. Wickersham
The Leaders Group
In 1994, Dave founded The Leaders Group which focuses  on  helping distribute Variable Life through BGAs, a life insurance model that has thrived immensely as well as a very robust retail arm that helps Financial Advisors thrive in the independent marketplace. Dave also started and serves as the CEO of TLG Advisors, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser that provides investment management and financial planning services for individuals, corporations, and retirement plans. Dave has a bachelor’s degree in Zoology with minors in Chemistry and Business from the University of Northern Colorado where he both played and coached football during his time there. Dave is happily married to his wife and best friend, Berny for 43 wonderful years and together have one son. In his spare time, Dave enjoys reading a great novel, wine tasting, shooting handguns, and fly-fishing.

Gonzalo GarciaGonzalo Garcia
Gonzalo has built his reputation on stewarding innovative complex life insurance transactions from inception to  completion. He is a 30+ year veteran of the life insurance industry and has held senior positions with the original Potomac Group, BISYS/Crump, and Credit Suisse’s Life Finance Group. As a Partner at AgencyONE, Gonzalo is responsible for advanced markets and business development. Gonzalo received a BS from Rice University and an MBA from St. John’s University (formerly the College of Insurance) in New York, NY. He is a member of AALU, Forum 400, NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors) and SFSP (Society of Financial Service Professionals). Gonzalo is also on the BGA Advisory Council for Prudential Insurance Company. As a husband (to Alex), father (Carina and Nicholas), Gonzalo has an active life outside of the office.
Heather UlzHeather Ulz
LifePro Financial Services
Heather is Chief Executive Officer of LifePro Financial  Services, Inc. She began her career at LifePro in 1997 as one of the original LifePro employees. Alongside Bill  Zimmerman, Heather helped grow the company from four employees to the team it is today. Before assuming her current position, Heather served as Chief Operations Officer for 9 years. Heather is directly involved in the strategy and growth of the company and has been instrumental in the creation of LifePro’s unique and much-sought-after culture, that focuses on the team’s relentless dedication to LifePro’s Mission and Core Values. Understanding that the job of the independent financial advisor is a difficult, and rewarding one, she draws upon her experience and natural-born leadership talent to lead the LifePro team in fulfilling the needs inherent to the ultimate success of the advisors that LifePro serves.

Jeremy Rubin J.R. Rubin
National Vice President
Platinum Distribution Channel
J.R. Rubin is the National Vice President for the Platinum Distribution Channel, recruiting and helping agency partners through improved business economics, carrier  access, and concept training. He helps his agency partners implement agent recruiting platforms and specialty services, while also serving as their primary point of contact. His number one goal is to help IMO Principals become as successful and profitable as possible. J.R. has 18 years of industry experience, spending the first 9 years as a captive agent. He then spent 3 years as an Internal FIA Wholesaler and 3 years as an External FIA Wholesaler before joining Partners Advantage in 2016. He holds an Economics degree from Iowa State University, and a number of financial industry licenses. In his free time he enjoys spending with his family, kayaking and competing in hot-air balloon competitions across the country.

Joe RossJoe Ross
VP - Sales Productivity, AIG American General Life
Joe Ross, ChFC, CLU, CRC has been in the insurance business since becoming fully licensed in 1978 at the age of 16, and went on to obtain his Insurance degree from the University of Iowa, being awarded the coveted Emmett J. Vaughan insurance scholarship. In 1990 he became an Insurance & Estate Planning Specialist for Merrill Lynch in five Chicago-area offices, followed by Vice President of Sales and Marketing for three life insurance companies before spending the last 20 years as the brainchild behind innovative sales concepts that have driven life insurance, annuity and retirement planning strategies in the independent agent and broker-dealer channels. In 2013 he brought those skills to AIG where he continues to build his legacy, inspiring financial advisors to make a difference in their clients’ lives.

Keith Gillies Keith Gillies
Managing Principal, 
Wealth Solutions, LLC
Keith M Gillies, CFP, MBA, is the Managing Principal of Wealth Solutions, LLC and The Pension Center, LLC, and co-founder of United Wealth Advisors Group, LLC, where he serves as Chief Executive Officer. He began his career as a financial advisor in 1981 with a commitment to providing advice and strategies to individuals, professionals and business owners to help them achieve their personal, business and charitable goals. Professionally, Keith currently serves as Immediate President of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, NAIFA. Prior to joining the NAIFA National Executive Committee, Keith was elected to two consecutive two-year terms to the National Board of Trustees. He is past-president of both greater NAIFA-Greater New Orleans and NAIFA-Louisiana. His honors include NAIFA-Greater New Orleans Member of the Year in 1997; NAIFA-Louisiana’s President’s Award in 2004; and NAIFA-Louisiana’s Arthur Abramson Member of the Year Award in 2007.
Ken LeibowKen Leibow
Founder and CEO, 
InsurTech Express
As Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at InsurTech Express, Ken brings more than 32 years of insurance industry experience, with an extensive background in insurance technology for distribution and back office systems. Prior to founding InsurTech Express, Leibow worked for Genworth Financial, Mutual of Omaha, and as vice president of operations at Diversified Underwriters Services, Inc. As Chief Operating Officer of Integrated Insurance Technologies, Ken built the largest life insurance data exchange hub in the industry, processing over one million policies per year and $30 billion of annuities (now owned by Oracle, Inc.). Some of Ken’s key initiatives he implemented include innovation in quoting and illustration tools, CRM’s, agency management systems, eApp platforms and ePolicy Delivery. Ken is a leader for industry technology standards, working with ACORD, LBTC, LIDMA, NAILBA, LIMRA, LOMA and IRI. In 2019, Leibow was appointed to sit on the ACLI Innovation Committee. He is a past winner of the NAILBA Chairman’s Award.
Linda LevyneLinda Levyne
SVP Head of Sales and Distribution

John Hancock Insurance
Linda is responsible for oversight of all distribution of life insurance in the U.S. for John Hancock, providing leadership of the National Account, Regional Vice President and Sales Support teams that support all of John Hancock’s distribution partners nationwide, including independent marketing organizations, producer groups and financial institutions. Prior to taking on this role, she led a team focused on the sales of John Hancock Vitality across all accounts and relationships and served as Term Champion, promoting the sales of term products and facilitating the use of technology solutions to streamline the sale and submission of all products. Upon joining John Hancock in 2011, Linda served as Vice President, Regional Sales Management, and was accountable for leadership of the Life U.S. Field Salesforce, managing the Regional Directors nationwide. Prior to joining John Hancock, Linda spent over twenty years in various management and wholesaling positions in the life insurance industry.
Marc GlickmanMarc Glickman
Buddy Insurance
Marc Glickman, FSA, CLTC, LTCP is co-founder of, a community of client-centric long term care planning experts. His mission is to help families across the country get an LTC plan and support the 44 million caregivers in the United States. Marc has over a decade of experience as a LTCI actuary. He is an expert in LTCI financing, pricing, and benefits. He has trained thousands of insurance agents and advisors across the country and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Certification for Long Term Care (CLTC) training designation. Marc has unique insight into the inner workings of insurance having consulted for several insurance companies to help design their LTCI products. Marc is a regular author for several industry trade magazines, volunteers on the Society of Actuaries LTC Section Council, hosts a monthly webinar series on insurance planning, and is a LTC subject matter expert on LinkedIn.
Marc VerbosMarc R. Verbos
Executive Vice President, 
Marc joined AIMCOR in September of 2014 as the Vice President of Business Development leading the overall marketing and business development efforts of the organization. In 2015, Marc was instrumental in launching the Enterprise Insurance Group (EIG), AIMCOR’s institutional/B2B platform, and continues to oversee that initiative today. As Executive Vice President, Marc serves as a member of AIMCOR’s senior leadership team and continues to lead the growth initiatives across the organization while working closely with the member firms, insurance carrier partners, and key strategic vendors to help increase the advisor adoption of insurance products through traditional, institutional and alternative distribution channels.

Michael SladekMichael Sladek
National Sales Director, 
Mutual of Omaha
Michael “Slades” Sladek is the National Sales Director with Mutual of Omaha.  In his current role he is responsible for managing a team of sales professionals in the Brokerage Life sales division teaching and coaching the team to increase sales across the country. Slades has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He joined Mutual of Omaha in 2014 as a Life Sales Director and was promoted to his current position as the National Sales Director.  Prior to joining Mutual of Omaha, he held the Senior Vice President of Sales for position for Ebix where he oversaw the Enterprise Sales team.   He currently resides in Houston, Texas with his wife Rose. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their 5 children and 7 grandchildren.

Ron HagelmanRonald R. Hagelman
Ice Floe Consulting
Ronald R. Hagelman, CLTC, CSA, LTCP, has been a teacher, cattle rancher, agent, brokerage general agent, corporate consultant and home office executive. As a consultant he has created numerous individual and group insurance products. 
A nationally recognized motivational speaker, Hagelman has served on the LIMRA, Society of Actuaries, and ILTCI committees. He is past president of the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance and continues to work with LTCI company advisory boards. He remains a contributing “friend” of the SOA LTCI Section Council and the SOA Future of LTCI committee. Hagelman and his partner Barry J. Fisher are principles of Ice Floe Consulting, providing consulting services for Chronic Illness/LTC product development and brokerage distribution strategies.

Ryan PinneyRyan Pinney
Pinney Insurance Center
Ryan J. Pinney is an eleven-year MDRT member  with eleven Top of the Table  qualifications. Recognized for using innovative  technologies to drive insurance sales, streamline the application process, and speed up underwriting, Ryan was selected as one of the 2015 Advisor Today “4 under 40” Financial Advisors and by Life Health Pro Magazine as one of the “24 Most Creative People in Insurance.” Utilizing a wide array of digital marketing tools and home-grown technology, his agency sold thousands of policies direct-to-consumer over the internet last year. Ryan currently serves as a National Trustee for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) and as a member of the MDRT Annual Meeting Program Development Committee.

Sheryl Moore Sheryl J. Moore
Moore Market Intelligence
Sheryl J. Moore is the founder and creator of several competitive intelligence tools, including Wink’s AnnuitySpecs and LifeSpecs tools, as well as Wink’s Sales & Market Report and Wink’s Index Intelligence Report. Moore Market Intelligence specializes in providing competitive intelligence tools to the insurance industry, particularly the life insurance and annuity markets. Ms. Moore provides competitive intelligence, market research, product development, distribution analysis, consulting services and insight to select financial services companies. She has authored books on insurance products and her articles are featured in dozens of industry trade publications. She works closely with regulators and legislators in the insurance market. 
She has a degree in Political Science from Grand View University, and holds numerous designations in the field of insurance services.
Tim KlusasTim Klusas
The Marketing Alliance
As Chief Executive Officer of The Marketing Alliance, Tim Klusas is responsible for all facets of the business.  Tim was appointed as President in March 2005 and elected to its Board of Directors in 2011. Its structure where stockholders can exchange shares in the open market make it unique among agency owners who stand to benefit as customers and as owners.  The Marketing Alliance is a life insurance business development company launched in 1996 from Subcenters, a study group of independent insurance general agents that recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding.  Prior to Marketing Alliance, Tim served as a Manager in Corporate Development and Planning for diversified manufacturer Eaton Corporation, where he supported global acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures, as well as corporate strategic planning.