2021 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2021 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Recipients!

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

Tim Bellig

Managing Principal
Vanbridge, an EPIC Company

Tim Bellig is Managing Principal at Vanbridge, an EPIC company. In 2001 he co-founded Trumark a leading distributor of life insurance to alternative asset managers before selling it to EPIC in 2019. In 2007 Tim created XRAE underwriting software, eventually selling it to iPipeline. Tim and his wife Courtney have 5 children.
Patrick Bowen 

Co-Founder and CRO

Patrick is a senior executive with 25 years of broad-based experience in multiple distributions. He is an exceptional sales professional who leads by example and delivers results. He started his career in financial services working for an insurance carrier during his high school and college years. Before co-founding InsurAware, he spent the previous two decades serving in a variety of distribution leadership roles. He most recently served as Senior VP of U.S. Distribution for the 6th largest insurer in the world. Active in many industry organizations, he takes pride in witnessing the sales results that the teams he has been privileged to lead have achieved over the years.

Brian Duncan
Duncan Advisor Resources

Brian is CEO of Duncan Advisor Resources, overseeing all of the firm’s wholesale businesses. He works with team members across the organization to be the leading trusted partner for advisors and their firms, with a special focus in the Life Brokerage General Agency business and underwriting advocacy. Brian works with advisors, agents and clients to design strategies that help grow, protect and transfer their wealth.
Matt Essick 

Chief Marketing Officer 

Matt Essick leads marketing, business development and strategy for Ensight™, the market-leading Life, Annuity & LTC sales acceleration platform for insurance carriers, national distributors and BGAs. Previously, Matt led various marketing divisions and strategy/innovation programs at Zurich Insurance Group, as well as spending a decade in Silicon Valley. Matt is a graduate of Boston College, London Business School and London School of Economics.

Blair Farwell
President and CEO
Resource Brokerage, LLC

Blair Farwell, RHU, REBC entered the insurance industry in 1995 and is the President of Resource Brokerage. Blair provides innovation to independent brokers through training and technology. Blair graduated from Hope College with a double major in Business and Communications.

David Fenimore
Chairman of the Board
Insurance Technologies

David Fenimore is Chairman of the Board for Insurance Technologies. Mr. Fenimore was an originating team member of Insurance Technologies and progressed his career to CEO, leading the technology, business development, and growth strategies for Insurance Technologies and its product offerings.

Scott Fergusson
Chief Executive Officer

I am the Chief Executive Officer at Techficient, an insurtech company formed in 2020. As an independent company with strong connections to the industry, we see a tremendous opportunity to transform the insurance space using the case management tools we have developed. When you combine this with our analytics, we have a unique platform that empowers distribution and carriers to better serve their customers and impact lives.

Paul Garofoli
Regional Sales Director 
The Standard

Paul Garofoli, Annuity RSD for the Standard, has a 39-year career touching upon all aspects of our industry, especially independent distribution. Nicknamed the “Annuity King,” his enthusiasm is legendary. A nationally recognized speaker, Paul is known for his entertaining presentations.

Eric Griffin
Executive Vice President
The Cason Group

Eric Griffin is the Executive Vice President at The Cason Group and is responsible for the life, DI, & LTC brokerage business. He has been with The Cason Group since 1998. Eric & his wife Wendy live in Charlotte, NC with their three kids Evie, Matthew, and Molly.

Angie Hughes
Managing Partner
Producers XL

Angie began her insurance career in 1993 and joined Producers XL in 1999. Recently becoming a Partner with Producer’s XL, Angie is excited to work with the agents in Life, Annuity, LTC, Disability and Medicare solutions. She spends most of her time working with advisors on developing marketing strategies for their practice and developing solutions for their clients.
Krish V. Krishnan

Founder and CEO 

Krish V. Krishnan is Founder & CEO of Magnifact, a Chicago-based insurtech company that created the AgentVizion platform—a patented performance measurement platform for the insurance industry that enables carriers, agencies and agents to get a 360-degree view across their lines of business. He is also the inventor of AgentVizion2Go, the first of its kind mobile app for insurance agents.

Jeff Levin

Vice President of Sales, Care Solutions 

Jeff Levin is Vice President of Sales for OneAmerica’s Care Solutions, a suite of life and annuity asset-based long-term care products. He is responsible for leading a team of Divisional Vice Presidents, Regional Sales Directors, and Managers, and an Account Management team, all focused on the distribution and support of OneAmerica’s sales partners.

Marjorie Ma

Head of Life Insurance Product Management

In her role, Marjorie is responsible for overseeing AIG Life Insurance Product portfolio, including Term, UL, IUL, and Whole Life. Her focus is on product strategy development and product implementation, as well as day-to-day product management. She is also responsible for Market Intelligence to collect industry and competitor updates and to provide actionable intelligence to other teams within AIG. Marjorie started her career in the life insurance industry with AIG in 2012 and has taken various roles in Product Development and Marketing. She’s passionate about life insurance products and is also an advocate for leveraging new technologies in life insurance to take customer experiences of this traditional industry to the next level.

Mike Pepe


Mike Pepe capitalized on 20 years of life insurance expertise by launching Proformex, a life insurance servicing platform that helps advisors, brokers, and carriers service clients better. Proformex delivers multicarrier visibility, collaboration, and performance reporting in a single, secure system.

Rachel Sachs

Vice President, Life Operations
Advisors Excel

Rachel Sachs is Vice President of Life Operations at Advisors Excel where she leads the day-to-day operations and strategic vision for the life insurance operations division. She joined Advisors Excel in 2010 and has helped grow the robust life insurance division to nearly 100 employees. Rachel and her husband Robby have been married for 15 years and they have two children, Delaney and Everett.

Scott Safranek

National Sales Manager
American National

Scott began his insurance career more than 25 years ago as a career agent and prior to joining American National Insurance Company he was a Sales VP at MetLife where he focused on growing life insurance sales on a national level. He has also had other sales VP positions with Mutual of Omaha, Lincoln Benefit Life and AIG-American General.

Scott obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and served our country for nine years in the U.S. Army. He is also a veteran of the first Gulf War. Outside of the office Scott enjoys spending time with family and friends on his boat either at the Lake of the Ozarks or the Missouri River.

Bobby Samuelson

President, Life Innovators
Executive Editor, The Life Product Review

Bobby is the Executive Editor of The Life Product Review, the industry’s best source for objective life product intelligence, and President of Life Innovators, a product development firm. Previously, he was SVP and Head of Product Development at Brighthouse Financial.

Jim Sorebo

SVP of Sales 
Highland Capital Brokerage 

James J. Sorebo, CLU®, serves as Senior Vice President, Community Banks & IBDs for Highland Capital Brokerage. Jim started his financial services career in 1979 and was an executive with an industry-leading insurance and investment company. Jim has given back to the industry in numerous ways over his career.

Matt Szychulski 

National Account Vice President
John Hancock 

Joining John Hancock in January 2020, Matt Szychulski serves in the role of National Account Vice President responsible for managing and growing top line production with several strategic National Marketing Organizations. When not working, Matt enjoys playing golf and spending time with his wife Joanne and coaching his sons Matthew and Caden in various youth sports.

Kim Wilcox
Director of Service and Underwriting 
Innovative Underwriters 

Kim Wilcox, LUTCF is the Director of Service and Underwriting at Innovative Underwriters in Philadelphia. Innovative Underwriters is a full-service BGA with an experienced team that focuses on building relationships and delivering solutions to meet every clients’ needs.
  • View 2020 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE
  • View 2019 Independent Distribution (ID) 20 Award Recipients HERE