Broker Words—December 2018

In Memoriam

Our industry has lost a giant and I a good friend. It is my sad duty and honor to memorialize Ronald D. Verzone, former president of United Underwriters, Inc., Exeter, NH.

Ron was a co-founder and the first chairman of The Marketing Alliance, Inc., one of the industry’s most successful BGA marketing groups, and served as president of the study group SubCenters, Inc. He served on the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies (NAILBA) and as its Chairman in 1993. Ron was selected for the group’s most prestigious honor, the Douglas Mooers Award of Excellence, in 2012.

Ron was a member of AALU, the national and local Association of Life Underwriters, the General Agents and Managers Association, Boston Estate Planning Council, and the International and New Hampshire Association of Financial Planners.

Ron had a degree in Medical Technology from the University of Texas and a BA from the University of Hartford. He was a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Insurance Consultant, a Certified Long Term Care Professional, a Licensed Investment Advisor forLife and Health, and a Registered Investment Advisor. He was a frequent international speaker on insurance issues, ranging from impaired risk to legislation and estate planning, and wrote for many well-known publications. He authored a manual called Guide to Underwriting the Impaired Risk, which has been distributed internationally, and served as a consultant for the Massachusetts Insurance Department.

“Ron was a visionary in so many ways. He gave selflessly to his industry and to his peers. NAILBA will always benefit from Ron’s time in leadership. His foresight in co-founding and serving as TMA’s first Board Chair helped TMA become the highly successful organization it is today,” relates close friend Jack Dewald, Agency Services, Memphis, TN. “I am personally better for my time spent with Ron Verzone. You always knew where you stood with Ron—the more he liked you, the harder he was on you. He must have really loved me! I will miss my friend and mentor.”

Kathy Carlson, Ron’s partner at United Underwriters and BSI, said, “I am forever grateful to Ron for all he taught me. His dedication and contributions to the industry will always live on. “

Perhaps Verzone’s closest friend, Ron Hagelman, IceFloe Consulting, remembers, “Ron Verzone was an enigma. He was instrumental in transforming this industry by creating the strength and leverage of our IMO dominated distribution reality today. Publicly, to the companies, he was seen as a combination of Emiliano Zapata and Robin Hood. His friends understood the fierce dedication of his mission, his love of wholesale brokerage, the fairness and freedom of choice he helped deliver to the American consumer, and that just under the surface of that sometimes gruff exterior was a kindness and caring spirit that strengthened all who truly knew him. To me personally he was my fishing brother for over 25 years. We owned Bay houses together and spent every available weekend arguing endlessly about which of our favorite fishing spots we would move to next to catch our elusive red fish opponents. I have lost more than a friend. The debt this industry owes one of its best guerrilla fighters cannot be measured and his legacy shall remain a blessing for us all.”

Ron was a complex person. I discovered from other friends that he served in the United States Army, was, for a time, the financial manager for Alice Cooper, and loved his race horses and his dogs. To me he was both an enthusiastic humorist and a stern mentor. He loved a good joke and laughed freely, yet showed little tolerance for misinformation or perceived ignorance. But his passion for the industry bound him to take the time to compassionately “set me straight” on occasion. I learned a great deal about the brokerage industry from Ron Verzone. He was a warm and treasured friend to those not fooled by his sometimes gruff exterior. I add my prayers to those of many in our industry fortunate enough to call Ron friend.