Three longtime insurance professionals and NAIFA members are the latest inductees into the Robert E. Musto Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame at Middle Tennessee State University. This year’s inductees included John Dewald of Memphis (original founder Agency Services, Inc.) , John Milam of Knoxville and Dennis Stephen of Columbia. The induction ceremony was held July 26 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro.
The Insurance Hall of Fame has now inducted 65 members since its inception. The hall is coordinated through the Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance in MTSU’s Jennings A. Jones College of Business. NAIFA Tennessee congratulates these inductees for this distinguished honor. Shown above left to right are: John Dewald, John Milam and Dennis Stephen.
John Dewald started his career with Aetna Life Insurance Company in 1962, forming his own firm, Dewald & Associates, in 1964. He later changed the name to Agency Services, Inc. Throughout his career, he was active in professional organizations, including NAIFA (NALU). In 1982, his son Jack, joined his father in the business and in 1994, Dewald retired at age 60, selling the firm to his son.
Dewald has been very involved civically, holding leadership positions on a variety of community service organizations, including the Memphis Salvation Army Advisory Board. In late 2013, he was honored by them as the only “Emeritus” Board Member ever recognized.
John started in the insurance industry right out of college with Willis Watson Towers. He has consistently been one of their top employee benefit employee advisors. He is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table and the Top of the Table. He was named the Tennessee Association of Insurance & Financial Professional of the Year in 2003.
He has served on the board of The Dream Connection, a wish-granting organization for seriously ill children. Last year, MDRT awarded a $50,000 grant to The Dream Connection in Milam’s honor for his work with the organization. It was the largest grant ever given by the 43,000-member on behalf of one of its members.
Dennis Stephen is the retired chief operating officer, life insurance operations, for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies in Columbia. He joined Tennessee Farmers Life Insurance Company as its first Home Office employee in May 1973, was later promoted to a director and then vice president in March 1987. He became COO in July 1994 before retiring at the end of 2015. He continues to serve as management consultant for Tennessee Farmers Insurance Companies.
His civic involvement includes serving four years as board chairman for Columbia Academy, a private Christian school that serves pre-school through 12th grade. He served as a member of the school’s board of directors for 15 years and on its executive committee eight years.