Eric J. Thomes Honored by NAFA with 2015 Bo Johnson Spirit Award

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Award recognizes courage, spirit, determination and individuals work ethically and conscientiously to improve the fixed annuity marketplace.

Eric Thomes, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Head of FMO Distribution for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) was announced as the 2015 recipient of NAFA’s Insurance Marketing Advisory Council’s (IMAC) Bo Johnson Spirit Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award recognizes courage, spirit and determination that challenges the status quo, and individuals who inspire others to achieve, contribute unselfishly to others, and work ethically and conscientiously to improve the fixed annuity marketplace.

The 2015 Bo Johnson Spirit Award was presented to Thomes by Brian Williams, Chief Operating Officer for Financial Independence Group; Ed Prewitt, Chief Marketing Officer for Imeriti Financial Network; and Christi and Addi Johnson, Johnson’s wife and daughter, respectively. The award was presented at the NAFA Annuity Distribution Summit – a fitting location for someone so tirelessly dedicated to the fixed annuity industry.

”Eric truly lives and breathes his passion for our industry and recognizes that true leaders must give back to the industry and to others in appreciation for those who have paved the way,” explained, Tom Burns, Chief Distribution Officer for Allianz Life. “Those who know Eric well all echo the same sentiments – that Eric is the ultimate team player, leading by example and with total integrity and transparency in everything he does.”

In his nomination of Eric for this award, Jim Maietta, Senior Vice President, District Director for Allianz Life, provided additional insight, “Eric joined the NAFA Board of Directors at the urging of Bo Johnson in 2006. He served for six years including two terms as Chairman of the Board.” Mr. Maietta explained, “During his time on the executive committee, Eric contributed with his leadership to help NAFA contest the SEC proposed rule 151A. He truly helped to unify the industry (carriers, IMO's and producers alike) to rally around a cause that would protect and ultimately advance our industry for years to come.”

Eric has been with the Allianz Life since 1995 when he joined LifeUSA Insurance Company, now a part of Allianz Life. He has served as Senior Marketing and Training Consultant, Vice President of Sales for the Long Term Care Division, Vice President of Sales for the Southeast region, and Senior Vice president of Strategic Accounts. Prior to joining the company, Eric was an independent insurance agent.

True to his generous and contributory spirit, Eric is a member of the LIMRA-LOMA Secure Retirement Board of Directors, LIMRA Independent Distribution Committee, a member of NAIFA, and currently sits on the Field Advisory Board for Allianz Life. He was formerly on the NAFA Board of Directors where he was elected as Chair in 2011 and 2012.     

The IMAC committee named the award in honor of Bo Johnson. Bo was well known for his energy, enthusiasm and love of the fixed annuity industry. He was a proud member of NAFA and served as a board member for several years and was the original chair of Insurance Marketing Advisory Ccommittee. His life was cut much too short when he died in 2009 after a courageous fight with cancer. He exhibited the attributes outlined in the award created in his name and left a very positive and lasting imprint on the annuity industry. Former recipients include Wendy Waugaman, the late President & CEO of American Equity Investment Life Holding Company (2012), Bill Cain, the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Independence Group (2013) and Samuel R. Lane, the founder of Fairlane Financial Corporation (2014).

NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, is an advocacy trade association exclusively dedicated to fixed annuities by educating regulators, legislators, journalists, and industry personnel, about the value of fixed annuities and their benefits to consumers. NAFA’s membership represents every aspect of the fixed annuity marketplace covering 85% of fixed annuities sold by independent agents, advisors and brokers. NAFA was founded in 1998.

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Janet Terpening
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