From High School Dropout To $95 Billion Richmond-Based Life Insurance Maven

TMI Newsdesk
4 Min Read


Name: Jeri Turley,

Firm: Winged Keel Group

Location: Richmond, VA

AUM: $95 billion

Forbes Rankings: America’s Top Financial Security Professionals, Top Financial Security Professionals Best-In-State

Background: Jeri Turley grew up in Orange County but had a rough childhood, she recalls. She fell in with the wrong crowd and dropped out of school, eventually getting emancipated from her family and moving to Lexington, Virginia. She finished school while staying with family friends and graduated from James Madison University in 1993 with a degree in international business and economics. After spending two years as an analyst at a government contracting firm, she joined James River Associates, a member firm of M Financial. Turley worked her way up to becoming president and helped sell the group to Winged Keel some six years ago, where she now oversees the mid-Atlantic region. The team today numbers more than 100 people across eight offices managing $tk billion for clients.

Building Relationships: Winged Keel is exclusively a life insurance shop and doesn’t do any wealth management or financial planning, Turley explains. She and her team instead partner with advisors from across the country and thereby serve as a key member of a client’s planning team. Many of Turley’s clients are in the ultra high net worth space: “Most of my work is with private clients doing traditional life insurance that is put in place for wealth transfer purposes,” she says. “We also have a very robust private placement life insurance portfolio.” In the corporate life insurance space, she also works with businesses—mostly privately owned—that have a need for non-qualified executive benefits for their teams, for example.

Competitive Edge: “I’m always prepared, showing up and responding to clients,” says Turley. “I sell life insurance, there is no question about that, but it’s about being transparent to help people understand their choices.”

Investment Philosophy/Strategy: “Education is huge—most people think of term and whole life insurance, but that’s just not the world we live in anymore, there are so many different products,” says Turley. “I try to act as a steward in the financial decision process” She values administration and service above all else when it comes to selling insurance: “You can’t deliver the product and exit the scene—you have to be there for the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Turley. “You have to keep showing up, even if sometimes you don’t deliver the best news.”

Biggest Challenge: “My greatest challenge was always defining my path, especially since I am not from the same environment as my clients,” says Turley. “I have had to be at the table with a true knowledge base.”

Best Advice: Says Turley: “It’s not a fun conversation to have with families to talk about death, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a productive conversation.”



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