Sammons Financial Group Names Life Leadership Team

Jerry Blair to become president upon Steve Palmitier retirement

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – December 16, 2021 – Sammons® Financial Group today announced changes to the Sammons Life Insurance Group leadership team as it prepares for the retirement of Steve Palmitier and the elevation of Jerry Blair to president, effective January 1, 2022. This past October, Blair was named president of Sammons Life Insurance Group following the announced plans of Palmitier’s retirement this past June. In this role, Blair will lead the life business lines of member companies Midland National Life Insurance Company and North American Company.

“This past year has proven to be a great one for Sammons Life Insurance Group. We have delivered outstanding results in terms of sales production – expanding both traditional and non-traditional distribution channels – and delivering an excellent customer and client experience,” Blair said. “I want to personally thank Steve Palmitier for his years of service to the company and his role in shaping our best-in-class team. I look forward to 2022; we intend to hit the ground running.”

To that end, the following new leaders were named, with their roles also effective January 1, 2022:

  • Ted Harris will become Chief Distribution Officer for the North American Life division, and Bobby Johnson is named Chief Distribution Officer for the Midland National Life division. Both sales leaders will direct internal wholesale operations as part of their expanded roles. While the structure and focus of the North American and Midland National brands remain unchanged, Sammons Financial Group recognizes the distinct differences between these two distribution models. North American sells product through Independent Marketing Organizations and the Midland National sales channel is direct through agents.

  • Melissa Phillips is promoted to Vice President, Life Sales Operations. In this new role, Phillips will provide leadership and management within the life group for operations, vendor management, strategic planning, budgeting, project management, and systems.

  • Katie Bartling, Vice President, Marketing and Customer Experience will expand her role to include digital distribution, a fundamental and growing life industry channel.

  • Neil Berns (Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer), Jeremy Bill (Vice President, Financial Management), and Christie Goodrich (Vice President, Life Product) round out the life insurance group leadership team.

“In today’s financial services environment, it is imperative we offer channel partners a best-in-class combination of innovative products and benefits,” Blair said. “Our path forward is for Sammons Life Insurance Group to recognize the unique sales channels and work with our agents and providers on tools that meet their clients’ individual needs.”

About Sammons® Financial Group, Inc.
The companies of Sammons Financial Group® help families and businesses protect their future to enjoy life’s moments today. A subsidiary of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., Sammons Financial Group is privately owned with member companies that are among the most enduring and stable in the financial services industry. Our companies include Midland National® Life Insurance Company (including Sammons® Corporate Markets); North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®; Sammons Institutional Group® (including Midland Retirement Distributors®and  Sammons Retirement Solutions®) and Beacon Capital Management, Inc. Together, we offer today’s most sought-after life insurance, annuity, and retirement planning products.