JoAnn Martin is one of the most well-known and prominent corporate leaders in Lincoln. As CEO of Ameritas, she leads a company that has more than 2,500 employees and did more than $2.2 billion in revenue in 2017.
The Journal Star recently asked Martin about a variety of topics ranging from the future of the insurance business to how to promote women leaders to the importance of community service.
Here are some of her selected responses.
On the biggest change she has seen in her more than three decades in the insurance business:
“In our industry the biggest change has been the shift to living benefits. Living benefits help customers with needs during their lifetimes. Examples of living benefits are receiving a monthly check in retirement, borrowing funds from your life insurance policy or using the benefits you get at the workplace like health or dental insurance. When I started working in the insurance industry, it was focused more on providing life insurance. Now there is more focus on products and solutions that you use often.”
On what the future holds for Ameritas product-wise:
“For this company, the future is bright. We offer wealth management for individuals, meaning not only insurance but also investments. We are providing retirement income through annuities and 401(k) offerings. Weâ€™re also seeing rapid growth in the individual dental insurance market, especially for retirees. We are working hard to meet consumers where they are by offering innovative new products and services such as BenefitEd, a student loan repayment employee benefit, or the dental wellness program we offer in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry.”
On what makes the insurance industry so stable and durable:
“The industryâ€™s greatest strength is its staying power. The industry has gone through depressions and recessions, and yet the management of this industry has made sure we are there to deliver on the promises made. This is a purpose-driven industry. We are here to serve and to fulfill lives. It is an amazing privilege to work in an industry whose sole purpose is to make peopleâ€™s lives better.”
Martin, the 2018 Inspire Woman of the Year, on the importance of awards and recognition:
“What makes awards so special is the thought that someone respected you enough to take the time to nominate you and stood up and said you should be recognized. The value of the award is that it reflects the respect of those around you.
“I hope the awards show others that there is great opportunity. Set a target for improvement every year. If you miss it, move the target and start over. But keep improving. What matters most is what is done for the greater good and not yourself.”
On how special Lincoln is:
“Iâ€™ve had the good fortune to travel the country a lot and have been involved with many different organizations in many locations and I think we should be very proud of Lincoln. In my view, itâ€™s one of the few places where you can have an invigorating career, enjoy a great family life, and be involved in the community. I recruit people to Lincoln on this. Itâ€™s critical. Lincoln is a great place to call home.”