<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=319290&amp;fmt=gif">

NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

NAIFA is proud to announce that Matthew S. Tassey, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, is the recipient of the 84th annual John Newton Russell Memorial Award. The award is the highest honor accorded by the insurance industry to a living individual who has rendered outstanding services to the institution of life insurance. The selection committee consists of representatives of 11 leading organizations in the life insurance and financial services industry. Tassey will be celebrated and formally presented the award at NAIFA’s Apex 2024 and Belong event Sept. 21 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

“Matt’s extensive and impactful career across various facets of the insurance industry aligns perfectly with the principles of the John Newton Russell Memorial Award,” said Tom Michel, LACP, CLTC, Chair of the 2024 award committee. “From his early days as an agent to his pivotal roles in NAIFA state and national committees, Matt’s leadership and dedication have been instrumental in advancing key industry initiatives and legislation that benefit millions of Americans today. His relentless efforts and achievements have set a benchmark for professionalism and dedication within the entire insurance and financial services community. That alone makes him a worthy choice for this award.”

Matt Tassey began his career in the life insurance business after graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1973. Moving to Maine in 1975, he became involved with NAIFA, serving in every elective office at both the local and state levels before being elected as a trustee of NALU (now NAIFA) in 1990 and re-elected in 1992. Tassey's commitment to NAIFA continued as he took on the role of Treasurer from 2011 to 2018. He has been an influential political advocate, serving as a key contact for multiple state and national legislators, and has effectively communicated the industry's interests before Congress and the press.

In addition to his roles within NAIFA, Tassey has made significant contributions through his involvement with the Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA), where he served as President from 1998-1999. During his tenure, he was instrumental in defeating the proposed "Hillary Care" and championed initiatives such as phased-in health deductions for the self-employed, the creation of Medical Savings and Health Savings Accounts, and the establishment of Long-Term Care Partnerships. His leadership helped implement tax-free charges against cash value for LTC premiums and secured funding for state high-risk pools, showcasing his dedication to improving the health insurance landscape.

Tassey's impact also extends to his work with the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (now Life Happens), where he served as a director starting in 2000 and as Chair in 2005. He played a pivotal role in launching Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) and the Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) campaigns, significantly broadening the foundation's reach and influence. After leaving the board, Tassey continued to guide Life Happens through strategic planning, and he remains active as a judge for the Life Lessons scholarship and Real Life Stories programs. Tassey’s broader industry involvement has included serving as a trustee of the Life Underwriter Training Council and membership in NAHU (now NABIP), and AALU (now Finseca), and he served as a founding member of the Joint Executive Committees, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to addressing common industry challenges and advancing the profession.

“Matt is profoundly deserving of the John Newton Russell Memorial Award,” said NAIFA President Tom Cothron, LUTCF, FSCP. “Matt’s tenure as Treasurer of NAIFA, his presidency at AHIA, and his influential work with Life Happens demonstrate his unwavering commitment to the industry. His exceptional service, effective advocacy, and continuous contributions truly exemplify the highest standards of excellence and merit this prestigious recognition.”

Members of the 2024 John Newton Russell Memorial Award Selection Committee:

Tom Michel, Selection Committee Chair, Michel Financial Group, NAIFA

Robelynn Abadie, Abadie Financial Services, LLC, 2021 John Newton Russell Memorial Award recipient

Troy Branch, Ameritas, FSP

Greg Gagne, Affinity Investment Group, LLC, MDRT

Bryon Holz, Bryon Holz & Associates, NAIFA

Lawrence Holzberg, Coastal Wealth, NAIFA

Harry Hoopis, Hoopis Performance Network, 2022 John Newton Russell Memorial Award recipient

Joe Jordan, author and speaker, 2023 John Newton Russell Memorial Award recipient

Sean O'Donnell, LIMRA

Barb Pietrangelo, Pruco Securities, LLC, Life Happens

Leah Walters, ACLI



AT Podcast Ad
LECP Blog Ad





300x250 Marketplace Banner Ad
NAIFA-FSP-LH with tagline - AT blog email ad (300 x 250 px)
2024 Congressional Conference (728 x 89 px)