Why are GAMA and AALU forming a new organization? This is about securing the future of the profession, bigger than any one organization. By joining forces, we can make a greater impact for our members and the people they serve. We have the opportunity to represent and bring our entire profession together, advancing and growing the work we do.
What are the goals of the new organization? By coming together as one organization, we will significantly strengthen the advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession, we will be able to offer more impactful programs that help develop leaders and provide better training for those getting into the profession, all to elevate the profession and give the entire field a more impactful voice.
Why should I remain a member of this new organization? This new organization will build upon the best of both organizations to elevate and promote the profession, amplifying our past individual impacts through one common, unified mission and vision. The new organization will be built on the pillars of best-in-class advocacy, leadership and professional development, and elevating the financial security profession.
What are the founding principles? We are created by the field to advance the profession; Our respective missions must be preserved; Inclusivity leads to strength; Transparency is essential; A stronger voice will accelerate diversity and drive a more inclusive culture within the profession.
Who is in “the profession”? The profession includes everyone who is involved in delivering financial and retirement security to the American people and abroad. This includes: field leaders such as managing partners, general agents, and brokerage general agents; and advisors from producer groups, broker dealers, and career and affiliated systems.
What does this mean for other life insurance distribution trade associations? As founding partners in the Industry Alignment Group (IAG), which brings together industry association partners representing distribution, AALU and GAMA both have long promoted collaboration, and now consolidation, to strengthen and better represent the profession. We are focused on making this new organization the best it can be in meeting that goal, and we will continue to welcome alignment conversations with all who are interested in our common purpose.
When will the new organization be officially created? We will begin integrating our operations starting July 30, aiming to be operating as one no later than June 2020. During that time, we will carry out thorough market research to determine the name, dues structure, member segmentation, and collect feedback as we develop the new organization.
Will I have an opportunity to provide feedback? Yes, this is a collaborative process, and we want to hear from you. Bonnie and Marc will be starting a listening tour in the coming months, visiting dozens of locations, meeting with members, corporate stakeholders, and partners. Please let us know if you want to get involved.
What is the new organization going to be called? The organization will have a new name, neither AALU nor GAMA, to reflect the nobility of our purpose. This will be a major part of our market research and announced at a later date.
What will happen with the existing boards? AALU and GAMA’s board years align, and there will be a joint nominating process this fall with representatives from both organizations. All current members will serve out their terms, and we will have a diverse board representing all aspects of our membership. We are committed to having a GAMA Foundation board with an active volunteer group and are planning to create a new “Next-Gen” advisory board as well.
What does this mean for AALU advocacy? AALU’s advocacy benefits the entire profession, and this will be a core function of the new organization. GAMA does not currently have an advocacy function, but with an increased membership and a stronger voice, AALU’s advocacy efforts have the potential to rise to new levels and achieve even greater wins, particularly going on offense rather than playing defense. We will continue to advocate for thoughtful policies and our current priorities that advance the profession’s ability to serve their clients.
What is GAMA’s international business and what role will it play in the new organization? GAMA has a robust international business, in 22 countries and 9 chapters around the world. We are committed to running the international business as an integral part of the new organization led by Bonnie. This will also provide an opportunity to share best practices and learnings on policies facing our members overseas.
What will happen with the GAMA Foundation? The GAMA Foundation will continue to operate as a 501(c)3, providing its critical nonprofit and research function.
What will the new dues structure look like? There will be no change for any membership dues for either organization for the time being. A new dues structure will be evaluated as part of the market research to ensure we have the resources we need to carry out our critical mission, while also working to avoid any barriers to entry to the new organization.
Will our annual meetings continue? Yes, both LAMP and TRANSFORM will take place as planned in 2020. LAMP will be on March 22, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, and TRANSFORM will be on April 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C. After that, we may look to space the two meetings out differently, but we are committed to running both conferences and look forward to working together on more events in the future.
Who will sit as the new CEO? Marc Cadin, current AALU president and CEO, will take the reigns as the new CEO, overseeing the Board, setting the vision, leading the staff, overseeing budgets, and setting new initiatives. Bonnie Godsman, current CEO of GAMA International, will be the president of the new organization, overseeing the international side of the operation, the Foundation, and the new leadership and professional development initiatives.
Who will serve on the Executive Committee of the new organization? Kelly Kidwell of Pacific Advisors, an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, will serve as the first Chair of the Board of Directors. Kelly is currently the president-elect of GAMA International and an active member of AALU. Jeri Turley of Winged Keel, a member of M Financial Group, and current Chair-Elect of AALU, will serve as Chair-Elect of the new organization.The remainder of the Executive Committee will be Ed Deutschlander, current Chair of the GAMA Foundation, Rick Van Benschoten, current Vice Chair of AALU, and Bob Baccigalupi, current Treasurer of GAMA. The GAMA (International and Foundation) and AALU Board Directors will continue their roles through the final integration of GAMA and AALU. A nominating process will be held to establish the new organization’s Board and the Foundation Board.