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JoAnn Martin, Former Ameritas CEO and ACLI Chair, Dies

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What You Need to Know

  • Martin attended a one-room country school through sixth grade.
  • In addition to leading Ameritas and the ACLI, she was a board member of the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  • She was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame in 2015.

JoAnn Martin, 67 — the vice-chair of Ameritas, a former Ameritas CEO and the 2018-2019 American Council of Life Insurers’ chair — died Oct. 20, from what her obituary described as a rare degenerative neurological disease.

In addition to serving as the CEO of Ameritas from 2009 through 2020, Martin was a member of the board of directors of the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 2008 through 2013.

Ameritas is based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Martin was active in local and state organizations as well as in financial services organizations. She served as the chair of the University of Nebraska Foundation board and chair of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.

She was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame in 2015.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a statement in response to Martin’s passing.

“JoAnn was a pillar of the Lincoln community and trailblazer in the insurance industry,” Ricketts said in the statement. “Her contributions to growing opportunities for Nebraskans have had a generational impact on the city.”

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors said Martin was a strong supporter of NAIFA and the industry.

“JoAnn was a true friend to NAIFA, many of our members across the country, and to all of those involved in the financial security profession,” NAIFA CEO Kevin Mayeux said in a statement. “I will always remember her thoughtful, compassionate, caring, and pragmatic leadership style and the fact that she was always looking after the best interests of others. She will be sorely missed.”

Martin’s Background

Martin was born in 1954 in Plainview, Nebraska, according to the obituary. She was the fifth of seven children, and she attended a one-room country school through sixth grade.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and the Certified Public Accounting professional designation in 1975, when she was 20.

She started in financial services at Touche Ross & Co., then earned a master’s degree in taxation from Colorado State University.

She began working for Ameritas, which was known as Bankers Life Nebraska at the time, in 1984, as an audit division manager.

In addition to holding the CPA designation, she earned the Fellow of the Life Management Institute designation.

Martin and the ACLI

Martin took over at the ACLI at a time when the economy was strong but low rates were challenging life insurers’ chief financial officers and accelerating underwriting systems were starting to gain traction.

She said when she was elected the ACLI chairman that she looked forward to working with the ACLI to ensure that policymakers knew the important role the life insurance industry plays in consumers’ lives and the economy.

“Life insurers provide consumers with the confidence that comes with knowing that their families’ financial futures are protected from life’s uncertainties,” Martin said.

JoAnn Martin (Photo: Ameritas)