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AALU, GAMA merging to form new organization representing ‘financial security profession’

Insurance Forums Staff


The Association for Advanced Life Underwriting (AALU) and GAMA International announced July 29 they will create a new Washington, D.C.-based organization representing the “financial security profession.”

This organization will be the first of its kind in the industry, representing all distribution channels and bringing together the strengths of AALU’s advocacy and GAMA’s leadership and professional development.

“When you look across distribution, there is far more that unites the profession than divides it,” said Marc Cadin, president and CEO of AALU (shown above with Bonnie Godsman). “We intend for this to be the start of a unifying effort that will bring together the entire profession so that we can more effectively address its biggest challenges. This is a moment the profession has needed for a long time. It has been an honor to work with Bonnie, who has been extraordinary in both leadership and vision, and our joint task force to bring it to fruition.”

“AALU and GAMA are both independently strong and a perfect complement to each other,” said Bonnie Godsman, CEO of GAMA International. “The opportunity to come together will accelerate our ability to drive growth and greater value for our members. With AALU’s advocacy strengths empowering more people to get involved and GAMA’s leadership programs, the opportunities will be endless.”


“Our profession has needed this kind of representation for as long as I can remember,” said Frank Scalese, Managing Partner of Blue Ocean Solutions and president of GAMA’s Board of Directors. “Most people in our industry aren’t members of any one organization. That has to change – so we are creating a new organization, with a new mission, and a new name that will enable us to unify the entire profession.”

“Conversations about unification have been ongoing for three years, and Bonnie and Marc are the two leaders we have needed to make it happen,” said Ray Bening, president of Bening Financial and chairman of AALU’s Board of Directors. “GAMA has developed some of the strongest leaders in our industry. With their direct relationships with over 100,000 affiliated professionals, they are a perfect fit for us and our membership. We are going to create a model to help them grow their practice and advocate to protect their clients.”

The new organization will represent and serve the entire financial security profession, regardless of role, marketplace, or experience. It will be built on three pillars:

  • Elevating the profession
  • Leadership and professional development
  • Best-in-class advocacy

It will have a new name, announced at a later date, and the two groups intend to operate as one no later than June 2020. Together, the memberships will total over 8,000 members.

This past year AALU has seen significant advocacy victories, such as the inclusion of life insurance sales in the 199A tax deduction, passage of the SECURE Act in the House, and improved Transfer for Value rules.

GAMA International has reinvented and increased participation in its annual conference, LAMP, grown its international operation to 22 countries with 9 chapters, and expanded member engagement offerings.

Marc Cadin, who took over as president and CEO of AALU in September 2018, will serve as CEO, and Bonnie Godsman, who has served as CEO of GAMA for five years, will serve as president. Kelly Kidwell, of Pacific Advisors, will serve as the first chair of the Board of Directors, and Jeri Turley, of Winged Keel, will serve chair-elect. Ed Deutschlander, current chair of the GAMA Foundation, Rick Van Benschoten, current AALU Treasurer, and Bob Baccigalupi, current GAMA Treasurer, will serve as the remainder of the executive committee.

About AALU: AALU is the leading organization of financial professionals who provide life insurance and retirement planning solutions for individuals, families, and businesses. AALU has a rich history of success with a single focus on the issues impacting life and annuity products, and the clients its members serve. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AALU is committed to providing its members with the essential tools and services required to help grow their businesses, serve their clients, and protect the financial and retirement security of the American people.

About GAMA International: GAMA International is an independent national nonprofit organization 501(c) (6), founded more than 85 years ago. GAMA International is the only association dedicated to promoting the professional development needs and leadership skills of first-line and front-line leaders in the insurance, investment, and financial services industry.



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