Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

2018 - Lee Bethel

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Lee V. Bethel, CLU®, ChFC®, REBC®, RHU®, CAP®, AIF® is President of Comprehensive Benefit Services, Inc. He has been in the insurance, employee benefit, investment and financial services field since 1979.

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2017 - Walter D. Gilstrap

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MANAGING DIRECTOR
Global Risk Management
Marsh USA Inc.

Walter is a Managing Director and Client Executive in the Global Risk Management sector in the Atlanta Office. As the Client Executive for some of Marsh’s largest and more complex Global Clients, he serves as the primary point of contact, accountable for deployment of resources and the clients’ satisfaction with Marsh’s service.

Walter joined Marsh & McLennan, now Marsh Inc. in 1985 after nine years in various roles with major insurance companies. His background includes the underwriting, broking and servicing of large risk management programs. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of cash flow rating plans and other complex risk financing techniques. He has industry expertise in a number of areas, including food and beverage, retail, utilities, construction, manufacturing and technology/telecommunications. He worked in the casualty department at Marsh & McLennan for several years as manager prior to assuming the role
of client executive.

Walter earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Georgia in 1976 and a Masters in Business Administration in Finance from Georgia State University in 1981.

Walter is active in a number of church, humanitarian and charitable organizations in the local community.


2016 - Aubrey Branch

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CHAIRMAN/CEO
Branch Hernandez Consulting/Branch Benefits Consultants

Aubrey is the visionary of the agency that has cultivated relationships and key contacts through involvement in the community, politically and through his professional alliances. He is responsible for proposing innovative opportunities and marketing strategies and creating/implementing plans that meet client’s objectives. Many diversity initiatives have experienced success in part due to Aubrey’s support and commitment to perform beyond his client’s expectations.

Aubrey’s management style is best described as “real”, he is sincere and a man of principals and integrity. Aubrey gets right to the point and is strong in resolution management as well as subtle in his negotiating skills.

Aubrey completed his Associate Degree at Long Beach City College, a B. S. in Business Administration-Management from Cal State Dominguez Hills University in Carson, CA, and is licensed in Property, Casualty, Surety, Life & Health Insurance.

He is the current treasurer of NAMC and has served on the: Airport Minority Advisory Committee; Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; NAAIA – Past President; Diversity Task Force; North Las Vegas Rotary Club – Past President; National Association of Minority Contractors; Government Affairs Committee – City of North Las Vegas; Advisory Committee of Insurance Division- Nevada and Mountaintop Faith Ministry Board Member & Treasurer.

He was an agent at Prudential Insurance – Las Vegas, NV, President of ABC Insurance Agency – North Last Vegas and currently serves as AC, LLC Member/Owner.


2016 - Carlton W. Maner

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CEO
Axis U.S. Property And Casualty Insurance

Carlton Maner is CEO of AXIS U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Division and Global Practice Leader for AXIS property lines of business. Prior to becoming CEO of AXIS U.S. P&C, Carlton was President of AXIS Specialty Lines Division, which underwrites property, marine and casualty business on a worldwide basis. He also led the E&S Property unit from 2003 to April 2007.

Carlton has 36 years of insurance experience and is based in Alpharetta, GA. Before joining AXIS, Carlton was SVP of Property for the Westchester Specialty Division of ACE USA. At ACE USA, Carlton was responsible for Westchester’s property portfolio and catastrophe management division within the United States. His prior experience also includes working at Zurich Insurance Company, Home Insurance Group,St. Paul Fire & Marine and the insurance brokerage firm of Haas & Dodd.


2015 - Mona Carter

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Mona T. Carter joined the staff of NCCI, Inc in February 2002, after an extensive career in insurance.  She began as an agent in 1985 and moved into insurance regulation in 1994 with the Kentucky Department of Insurance.  While at the Kentucky Department, Ms. Carter served as the Deputy Commissioner from 1999 until 2002.  Prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner she was the Director of the Property and Casualty Division from 1994 to 1999.

During her tenure at the Kentucky Department, Ms. Carter was a very active member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).  She served on the following committees: Property and Casualty Commercial Lines Committee, Workers Compensation Task Force, and the Market Conduct and Consumer Affairs Committee.  She chaired numerous working groups and subgroups throughout the years including the review and feasibility of Multiple Rating Organizations in Workers Compensation.  

Ms. Carter’s responsibilities at NCCI, Inc, entail working with various organizations and groups, such as insurance carriers, insurance regulators, labor boards, legislators, insurance agents, and others, that partner with NCCI, Inc. in the business of workers compensation

Mona participates in several industry organizations representing NCCI, Inc. and currently serves on the Industrial Education Council of NCOIL.  She is past Chair of the Associate Member Council for the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC), and has served on the Board of Directors and Membership Chair for the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA). Ms. Carter has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology from Western Kentucky University. 


2014 - Craig Gilmore

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Craig Gilmore, entrepreneur, is a product of the Southside of Chicago and the Chicago Public School system.  He began his career in the Insurance and Financial Services industry more than 35 years ago. After completing degrees at Illinois State University in 1973, he joined State Farm Insurance as an Auto Insurance Underwriter. He held various positions before joining State Farm’s Human Resources Department in Bloomington, Illinois. Initially, Craig was a recruiter and benefits administrator. He soon progressed to positions in Employee Relations and Affirmative Action monitoring. In 1984, he was promoted to Human Resources Manager at State Farm’s Houston, Texas facility. In 1986, Craig returned to State Farm’s corporate office in Bloomington to head its national recruiting staff. During this time, his most cherished experiences included coordinating recruiting efforts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) and managing the company’s Summer Minority Internship program- the gateway through which many promising college students of color were introduced to Corporate America. In 1988, Craig decided to try his hand at sales. He opened an independent State Farm sales office in Hyde Park. After two very successful years, growing his client base from zero (0) to over a thousand (1000) policies, he was promoted to Sales Manager. Four years later, in 1995, Craig was promoted to Agency Field Executive responsible for leading the sales efforts of the company’s forty –five (45) agent sales force on Chicago’s Southside.  Craig was early to understand the value and opportunity presented by the exponential growth of African - American, Hispanic, and Asian populations. In 1998, he was asked to create and lead State Farm’s very first statewide multicultural marketing department. He held this position until he was promoted to Director, Multi-cultural Markets for the Great Lakes Zone. In this position, he was responsible for multi-cultural marketing in Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. The marketing efforts of Craig and his multi-state team increased State Farm’s multi-cultural market share each year, often leading the enterprise  in these critical growth markets. He pioneered a growth strategy that combined elements traditional and grass roots marketing with philanthropy and reputation management. 

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2012 - Roosevelt Haywood III

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Roosevelt Haywood II is the President/CEO of Haywood and Fleming Associates (HFA), a solution-oriented commercial insurance ans risk management firm with offices in Gary, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois. In Business since 1984, the company utilizes its vast experience and expertise to deliver cost-effective services to large and complex entities in the private and public sectors. HFA also serves the personal and unique needs of the high net-worth individuals. As "Risk Architects" in the area of commercial insurance and employee benefits, HFA's focus is to protect the assets and enhance the bottom line of its clients.

Mr. Haywood is a second-generation insurance professional with over forty years in the business and has been involved in the industry in a number of capacities. He has served as Chairman of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA), President of the Independent Agents of Northwest Indiana, Director on the Board of the Independent Agents of Indiana and Board Governor of the Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) Society. Active in the community, he serves on the Boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Indiana, Gary Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Northwest Indiana (LNI).

Always striving for excellence, HFA has been highlighted in various industry publications:  National Underwriter, Independent Agent (IA), Rough Notes (Cover Story Agent), and Risk & Insurance (Power Broker and Responsibility Leader Award Winner). 


2010 - Ronald Allen 

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Ron Allen is founder and past president of the A. Allen Insurance Agency Ltd. in Chicago, Illinois. Allen, a graduate of Chicago State University, was a former business education teacher with the Chicago Public Schools. Allen joined the Allstate Insurance Co. in 1967 and was one of Allstate's first African American claim adjusters. Allen later became one of the first African Americans promoted to Allstate Agent. Allen maintained an agency affiliation with the Allstate Insurance Companies for over 40 years. Allen's insurance agency has won several regional and national honors during his sales career. Allen formerly was the co-host of "The Financial Forum" radio show broadcast on WVON 1690 AM in Chicago. Allen has served on the Allstate Foundation Regional Grant Committee, the Demicco Youth Center Board of Directors, the DuPage County Crimestoppers Board of Directors, the Chicago State University Alumni Board, and the DuPage County Adult Probation Department Volunteers. Allen is a Silver Lifetime member of the NAACP. Allen was awarded the 2009 "50 Men of Excellence Award" by the Chicago Defender Newspaper. Allen served as the 2009-2010 Chairman of the National African American Insurance Association. Allen was awarded the NAAIA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Allen was accepted as a Fellow by the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance in 2011.


2009 - Ernesta Procope

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Hailed as the "First Lady of Wall Street", Ernesta Procope is the President and Chief Executive Officer of E.G. Bowman Company, Incorporated, the nation's largest minority-owned insurance brokerage firm. Over the years the company has handled some business for 60 of the Fortune 500 companies, churches, colleges and variety of other businesses and social welfare agencies.

Born in Central Brooklyn, Ms. Procope showed early promise as a piano prodigy who appeared at Carnegie Hall at the age of 13. Her interests would eventually change from music to real estate and insurance. In 1953, she founded E.G. Bowman, offering personal lines of insurance in the most black Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Then in the 1960's, Ms. Procope would face her first major hurdle when riots prompted insurers to start "redlining" black neighborhoods. In one day alone the Bowman Company received 90 cancellation notices for property insurance coverage. Frustrated that black homeowners were being denied insurance coverage, Ms. Procope took her case all the way to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and convinced him to support the "New York Fair Plan", legislation that prevented "redlining" and made insurance available to all New York homeowners. Similar versions of the law have since been adopted by 26 states.

By the late 1960's, Ms. Procope began to focus on commercial insurance accounts such as the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, a community development program started by Robert F. Kennedy. Facing tougher competition in this arena, Ms. Procope developed a plan to better promote her company and ultimately landed PepsiCo as her first major commercial unit.

In 1979, E.G. Bowman Company made history when it relocated from a storefront in Bedford-Stuyvesant to 97 Wall Street and became the first African-American owned business located on Wall street. Ms. Procope became the broker of record for the New York City Housing Authority and the insurance broker fro the construction of the United States portion of the Alaskan Pipeline. The company, licensed in all 50 states, currently boasts an array of major accounts including IBM, Avon Products, Philip Morris Companies, General Motors and Time Warner.

Most recently, Ms. Procope has become the found and president of Bowman Specialty Services, LLP. This extension of her business provides engineering and safety services, with an insurance prevention focus, to a number of major accounts. 


2008 - Fred Davis

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Rising to become the first black chairman of the Memphis City Council, Fred L. Davis was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 8, 1934. After graduating from Manassas High School in Memphis in 1953, Davis went to Memphis State University, where he began studying business administration. Before graduating, he transferred to Tennessee State University in Nashville, earning a B.S. in 1957. Davis entered the Army in 1957, and served in France for two years.

Davis opened his own insurance agency, Fred L. Davis Insurance in 1967. The agency was one of the first African American-owned insurance agencies in the South. When the sanitation workers of Memphis went on strike in 1968, Davis was serving on the city council. Siding with the strikers, Davis urged the city to recognize their union. Over the course of several months, there was violence by the police against the striker when they would march, and leaders from the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference came to support the strike. It was the strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis, where he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, and the strike ended soon thereafter. Davis later became the first African American chairman of the Memphis City Council.

Fred Davis Insurance is one of the most respected companies in Memphis, growing for ma  small office to a powerhouse of sales. Davis himself is very active in the community, serving on the board of directors for the Assissi Founation, a trustee of the Community Foundation, a director of the Memphis Leadership Foundation and a past president of the University of Memphis Society. He has been presented with the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the National Council of Christians and Jews and the Communicator of the Year Award by the Public Relations Society. Davis is married with three children and two grandchildren.  


2007 - Thomas L. Whatley

Independent Agent - Detroit, Michigan


2006 George Gray

Allstate Agency Owner - Chicago, Illinois


2005 - Milton E. Moses

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Mr. Moses leadership, Community Insurance Center, Inc., enters the new millennium with a full understanding of the challenges facing the insurance purchasing public. In the 21st Century Community Insurance Center, Inc., is fully expanding its mission to internet users and consumers, by "providing the maximum amount of protection, at the least expense, with coverage and service rendered in the shortest period of time". The president of Community announced the creation and implementation of strategies to focus on continued growth and innovation in the areas of personal and commercial insurance protection, public entities and consumer advocacy which is an ongoing effort towards improving the quality of consumer protection through legislative efforts, with participation, both on the state and federal level.