Board Grows as New Electees Look to Drive Engagement through Continued Innovation and Annuity Leadership

WASHINGTON (Jan. 15, 2021) — The general membership of NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, unanimously approved an extended slate of candidates presented for its 2021 board of directors. Nominations were received from the membership at large, and candidates were vetted by the current board before being proposed at the association’s annual meeting in November. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the meeting was held virtually and the vote was captured digitally.

With an exceptional talent pool under consideration, the board moved to expand its number of board members to 25. Membership voted in favor of the expansion, electing eight new members and two members to a second term. These industry leaders are poised to help the association continue navigating an unprecedented environment as well as potential regulatory and legislative changes as a new Biden Administration and Democratic-controlled Congress assume control in Washington next week.

Newly appointed board members include: Jay Brown of Delaware Life Marketing; Wes Gilbreath of Annexus Group; Maureen James of Summit Compliance Group; Paul Kruth of Western and Southern Financial Group; Brian Peterson of TruChoice Financial Group; Tamiko Toland of CANNEX Financial Exchanges Ltd.; Mike Tripses of Annua Profectus; and Mark Williams of Brokers International, Ltd. Janet Sipes of AmeriLife and Eric Taylor of AIG Financial Distributors will begin serving a second three-year term.

Lauri Beck of Insurance Network America will assume the role of chairman of the board of directors, taking over for immediate past chair Chris Conroy of Insurance Agency Marketing Services, Inc. (IAMS). Heather Kane of EquiTrust Life Insurance Co. will roll up to vice chair and Mike Morrone of Nationwide to secretary, while Kevin Mechtley of North American Company was elected to join the executive operating committee as its newly appointed treasurer.

“2020 brought with it a number of challenges for NAFA and the industry at large. In addition to our inability to hold in-person conferences and face-to-face meetings with elected officials, we witnessed continued historic low interest rates and significant market volatility. NAFA responded by leveraging virtual platforms in pursuit of its mission to advocate, educate and integrate on behalf of fixed annuities and those who design, distribute, sell and support them,” said Chuck DiVencenzo, NAFA president and CEO. “In 2021, we look forward to leveraging the combined knowledge and experience of our new and returning board members to help us innovate strategies for growing membership and enhancing the awareness and understanding of fixed annuities. The pandemic has highlighted the need and desire for safe accumulation and predictable lifetime income, two hallmarks of these powerful products. I have no doubt that this group of elected leaders will rise to the challenges of the moment and excel in amplifying our collective voice to ultimately benefit the American consumer both now and for years to come.”

Newly elected members join a board roster that also includes the following current members: Bruce Donaldson of the Simplicity Group, Tad Fifer of Lincoln Financial Group, Jason Krohnke of American Equity, Ryan Lex of Athene, Nate Lucius of Gradient Financial Group, Tim Minard of Great American Insurance Group, Andrew Payne of CreativeOne, Craig Rudesill of Nationwide, David Schliesman of Allianz Life, Matt Tarkenton of Tarkenton Financial and David Wolfe of Advisors Excel.

Of behalf of the NAFA staff, board and membership at large, DiVencenzo recognized the contributions of exiting board members Jason Kestler of Highland Capital Brokerage, the late Adam Lunardini of Delaware Life Marketing, Jim Maietta of TruChoice Financial Group and Brad Newcomb of Global Atlantic at the final board meeting of 2020. NAFA extends its gratitude for their service and commitment to the association.