Stephen J. Bontell
Stephen J. BontellSenior Vice President, Sales
Steve joined TAG in 2018 and is responsible for supporting the growth and development of both the career and brokerage channels. Prior to TAG, Steve was the Chief Marketing Officer at Settlers Life. He has held senior sales and marketing leadership positions in the life and health insurance industry with Forethought Life, Pennsylvania Life, OneAmerica, Coventry, and Torchmark as well as serving in a variety of agency management and sales role with Allstate, Progressive, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan.

Steve is a distinguished graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina and resides in Orlando, FL with his wife Lori and their two children, Stephanie and Matt. Lori and Matt are also TAG agents.

Mark L. Carter
Mark L. CarterChief Financial Officer
Mark’s broad experience in finance, financial analysis, fiscal control systems, auditing, taxation and capital deployment strategies ensures that TAG maintains the fiscal discipline necessary to continue the company’s rapid expansion. Mark is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a B.S. in Accounting.
Robert G. Casey, CSA
Robert G. Casey, CSAChief Compliance Officer
Rob joined TAG nearly seventeen years ago as an agent and worked his way up to a team leader managing agents. Rob is uniquely qualified to head up TAG’s compliance department due to his ability to see issues from both the agent’s and client’s perspective. An expert in insurance law and regulation, Rob is charged with making certain TAG is compliant in all areas of the business. Rob, a licensed agent, is a graduate of The University of North Carolina holding a B.A. in Psychology. Rob and his wife Jill are the parents of two daughters and are expecting their first grandchild.
Jonathan Cole
Jonathan ColeSenior Vice President, Final Expense
Jon first joined TAG as an agent in 2004 and has served in a variety of roles over his long association with the company. During his tenure at TAG, Jon has been a successful leader on both the sales and corporate side, most recently serving as TAG’s final expense “subject matter expert” where he was responsible for sales growth, developing and delivering field training and maintaining quality metrics on the final expense block of business. Previous to joining TAG’s corporate leadership team, Jon served as a Regional Sales Manager for TAG and consistently earned ranking as a top five sales office. Jon and his wife Jennifer have two daughters.
John M. Gentry
John M. GentrySenior Vice President, Medicare
With over ten years of service to TAG in various capacities, John is a recognized expert in the Medicare space. John’s tenure with TAG, as a former financial advisor with American Express and a stint as a Regional Sales Manager with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina provides him with a unique understanding of the complexities of both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement plans. John is a licensed agent and a true “Renaissance” man with many and varied activities and interests.
Steven H. Jarvis Jr.
Steven H. Jarvis Jr.Vice President, Marketing
With over a decade of career experience at The Assurance Group, Steven currently serves as Vice President of Marketing. Beginning his career at TAG with a major in Computer Programming, he has embraced a radically different philosophy to traditional marketing. Steven’s fusion of information technology experience and his passion for finding creative marketing solutions has simplified nationwide brand expansion for The Assurance Group. It is his career mandate to utilize technology to enable TAG to continue making a difference in the lives of their agents and each of the individuals insured. Steven and his wife Janielle are the parents of daughter Skylar.
W. Curtis Klein
W. Curtis KleinChief Marketing Officer
Curt joined TAG in 2007 and is responsible for sales across both the career and brokerage channels in addition to management and oversight of TAG’s corporate marketing initiatives and brand development. With twenty-five years of industry experience, sixteen of those in senior-level positions at insurance carriers, Curt has developed expertise in sales distribution and management, product development and agent compensation and incentive programs. Curt, a licensed agent, is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University with a BA in Human Resource Management. Curt and his wife Sharon have two daughters and four grandchildren.
H. Vann Owens Jr.
H. Vann Owens Jr.Director, Information Technology
One of The Assurance Group’s first full-time employees hired nearly 25 years ago, Vann oversees TAG’s robust information technology platform. Vann and his team are responsible for the development of new processes to support all home office administrative functions and for the design and maintenance of TAG’s proprietary agency management system. Vann earned Bachelor of Science degrees in both Business Administration and Computer Information Systems from High Point University. Vann and his wife Misty are the parents of two children – Brent, 16 and Shay, 13.
Edward L. Shackelford
Edward L. ShackelfordFounder & Chief Executive Officer
Never able to contain his entrepreneurial spirit and his dreams of growing a company, Ed left the textile industry twenty-eight years ago to begin building the foundation for what would eventually become The Assurance Group. Ed is recognized throughout the industry and among his peers as a trend-setter in the areas of employee benefits, final expense distribution and Medicare Advantage sales. Actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the company, Ed continually brings forth fresh and innovative ideas that fuels TAG’s explosive growth year after year. Ed and his wife Beverly have twin daughters and one grandson.
Isaiah Smith, II
Isaiah Smith, IISenior Vice President, Annuities
Since Joining TAG in 2013, Isaiah has made a significant impact on annuity sales through enhancements in TAG’s training, submission and issue procedures and through the resources he provides to agents to un-complicate the sales process. A seasoned financial professional, Isaiah has over eighteen years of experience in the annuity, life insurance and mutual fund markets. In his previous position prior to joining TAG, he was responsible for growing annuity sales from $350 Million to over $1.4 Billion over a nine year period. Isaiah, a licensed agent who also holds his series 65 license, is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte earning a BSBA in Marketing. Isaiah and his wife Nicki are the parents of four children.
Duane Vestal
Duane VestalSenior Vice President
Duane joined Ed as an independent agent in 1988. Ed asked him to leave his new career in banking to knock doors of local employers & offer supplemental health insurance. As the client base began to grow, so did the product line. Duane worked to attract new agents & carriers from the early days of the company. As employees were hired to support the growth, Duane continued to bring new clients and worked closely with the office staff to form the company’s operational infrastructure. Duane was named Executive Vice President in 1999, just before the company was about to see explosive growth and diversification. Duane now works with the Executive Management team with a focus on corporate strategies, including managing Insurance company relationships and Information Technology platforms while remaining involved in all aspects of the company’s focus and culture. Duane feels that the company is better poised for the future than at any time in the company’s history.
Christopher L. Weaver
Christopher L. WeaverSenior Vice President, Sales
A recognized expert in the development and distribution of supplemental health products, Chris joined the “TAG Team” early in 2014. For nearly thirty years, Chris served in senior positions with Capitol American Life, Conseco and PMA-USA. In 2012, Chris founded Queen Street America, a national company focused on the sale and marketing of cancer plans. Chris’ role is to recruit talented sales leaders in order to support the continued growth of both the career and brokerage channels at TAG. Chris is a graduate of The University of Evansville (IN), and has two daughters. Chris’ wife Amy is a soon-to-be published author.