Main Stage

Tyler Asher

President, Independent Agent Distribution,
Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance

Tyler Asher joined Safeco in 1999 and has served in a variety of leadership roles which have contributed to his deep understanding of the industry and how carriers and independent agents must adapt to succeed in the rapidly changing marketplace for personal insurance. Prior to his current role, Tyler was vice president of Agency Insights where he led strategy and research, analytics and data science, and innovation. Prior to that, he held several leadership roles in finance including vice president and financial officer. Tyler holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington.

Matt Masiello

Chief Executive Officer, SIAA

Matt Masiello has responsibility for executive management of the largest alliance of independent insurance agencies in the United States and its related companies, providing leadership to senior executives of SIAA and Master Agencies across the country. His more than 25 years of experience at SIAA and SAN Group (SIAA’s original and largest Master Agency operating across the Northeast) have instilled in him the skills, knowledge, and expertise to lead both companies, as well as providing strategic vision and leadership for their futures. Matt has become a subject matter expert in the field of insurance and agency development and is a frequent contributor to many industry publications, including Insurance Journal, Property Casualty 360, National Underwriter Magazine, PIA Magazine, Independent Agent and The Standard. He is a frequent presenter at a variety of insurance conventions, meetings and events.

Panel Discussion

Christine and Mark Bailey

Bailey Family Insurance Agency, Springfield, IL
Christine is CEO of BFI and helped clients for over 10 years in the marketing world. She is born and raised in Springfield, and is dedicated to helping the local community and growing families. She not only protects individuals’ assets, lives, and families, but also client’s businesses and commercial needs.

Mark is President of BFI and has been in the insurance industry for 10 years. He has carried many roles in his career, originating in claims, working as a captive agent consultant, and now operating his own independent agency, where he can make your unique needs his priority and find the right and best coverage for you.

Steven Griswold

Griswold & Griswold, Torrance, CA

Steven Griswold is an award-winning insurance broker, published author, and President and CEO of Griswold & Griswold Insurance Agency, a specialty insurance brokerage focusing on providing innovative and unconventional business solutions to clients in all industries.

Chris McCarthy

The Insurance Outlet, Laconia, NH

Chris McCarthy is the lead agent and owner of the Insurance Outlet in Laconia, NH, a small town independent agency established in 2009. The Insurance Outlet offers personal, small business and life insurance throughout New Hampshire. The agency is active in community events such as The Santa Fund, Lakes Region Young Professionals, the Chamber and youth sports leagues.

Mark Rodgers

Trailstone Insurance Group, Littleton, CO

Mark Rodgers, owner agent of Trailstone Insurance, was a seasoned business owner long before he entered the insurance industry in 2011. His client-centric approach and guiding philosophy that one should treat others as they would treat themselves has helped him build a reputation of integrity and honesty throughout the years. His thoughtful leadership serves as an example to the other insurance professionals in the agency. He has said that he wouldn’t recommend a policy to someone else that he wouldn’t want for himself.


Stacie Cooper

Project Manager & Marketing Coach, Safeco Insurance & Liberty Mutual

Stacie is a dedicated, enthusiastic and experienced professional with an extensive marketing, training and sales background. Teaching digital and relationship marketing tactics that drive new business and increased retention for independent insurance agencies is Stacie’s daily routine. Stacie and her team at Safeco are champions of independent agents and helping agency partners grow their businesses

Clinton Houck

Director of Agency Development, Advisor Evolved

Clint founded his first agency at the age of 24 and operated as a brick and mortar captive agency. After three years of building a traditional agency model, Clint surrendered his captive agency to co-found a completely digital, online Independent agency. In 2017, Clint joined State Auto to support the modernization of the IA channel. He works with agents to implement digital marketing, sales automation, and analytics. He now is the Director of Agency Development for Advisor Evolved.

Jeff Teshke

Jeff Teshke

Founder and CEO, Forge3, Ltd.

Jeff is a leading technology entrepreneur and educator in the insurance industry. His exceptional hands-on knowledge of technology and his ability to communicate in a non-tech, business-friendly way has helped him become an industry-leading visionary, bringing life to ActiveAgency, Clickable Coverage, Hello Producer, Video Proposals and more.

Tim Robinson

Chief Operating Officer, Agency Revolution

Chief Operating Officer Tim Robinson joined Agency Revolution, an FMG Suite company, in 2017. In this role, he is responsible for business operations, revenue, and customer success. Tim brings to his leadership position more than two decades of experience in sales, product, marketing, engineering and customer success, and has worked in a range of organizations from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Diana Zalaquett

Senior Agency Consultant, HubSpot

Diana’s mission is to enable individuals, teams, and organizations to work effectively across boundaries. She is a senior agency consultant with over 5 years of experience in post-sale account management, customer relationship development, providing strategic advisory services and coordinating services and support to maximize the customer’s return on investment.

Brady Polansky, CPCU

Vice President, Agency Relationships, EZLynx 

Brady Polansky, CPCU, is the Vice President of Agency Relationships at EZLynx, the leading technology provider for the independent insurance industry. More than half of the industry relies on EZLynx to manage their growth and profitability. According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, EZLynx is the fastest growing management system for 6 years running. With more than 30 years in the business – including half as a successful independent agent – Polansky is recognized as an expert in the independent agency distribution.

Matthew Smith

Business Development, Rocket Referrals 

Matthew Smith started selling insurance out of college, looking to gain some sales experience. He quickly identified the secret behind increasing referrals lied in improving the customer experience. In 2015, he teamed up with some StartupCity classmates to launch Rocket Referrals. This software automates meaningful client communication (like hand-written cards) while using Net Promoter surveys and smart algorithms to identify the personality profiles of clients with a high likelihood to refer.

John Fear

Founder, Premier Business Consulting

John Fear has worked in the insurance industry for 30 years in the areas of Life & Annuity, Small Commercial, Boiler & Machinery, Field Operations, Process Engineering and Personal Insurance. In 2007, John left the corporate life to start his own consulting firm – Premier Business Consulting. Since starting his own business, he has been a featured presenter at several National Sales Meetings for major insurance companies and Independent Agency organizations including SIAA where he is featured in the Fear-less Sales Training videos. His workshops enable agents to meet and exceed their business objectives by incorporating sound business principles into their everyday operations.

Scheduled Chats

Jason Keck

Chief Executive Officer, Broker Buddha 

A Harvard graduate with a degree in Computer Science, Jason Keck started his career managing strategic partnerships at industry unicorns like Tumblr and Shazam, coining deals with major mobile distributors including: Apple, Google, Verizon, AT&T, TMobile, Sprint, Samsung, LG. He gained intimate knowledge of digital & mobile technologies and developed an expert opinion on data privacy in the digital age. Today, Jason’s re-imagining the future of commercial insurance as the CEO of Broker Buddha.

Chris Eldridge

Director of Operations, Cloudbridge Solutions

Chris Eldridge is the Director of Operations for Cloudbridge Solutions where he helped build the company from its earliest days. Chris started his career at Liberty Mutual Insurance and then helped start an IT consulting company to focus more on technology implementation. As a serial entrepreneur, advisor and mentor for small businesses and startups Chris has a passion for helping companies become more efficient and grow through the use of technology.

Matt Aaron

Co-Founder, Insurance Agent App

In 2012, Aaron co-founded Insurance Agent App – the premier mobile and web-based utility application for insurance agencies & brokerages. The Insurance Agent App connects agencies with their clients and carriers BEFORE, DURING & AFTER events happen. Recently, the Insurance Agent App won the ACORD InsurTech Innovation Challenge in the Startup / Disruptor category, by delivering a First Notice of Loss directly from the Insurance Agent App to an insurance company’s claims department, and they are continuing their work with insurance companies to deliver policy data directly to the Insurance Agent App outside of an agency’s management system.