Monday, August 19, 2013


Months after settling a messy civil suit, American Senior Benefits still maintains its "no wrong-doing found on our part".

Read the settlement agreement, and judge for yourself. 

Nearly nine months after agreeing to settle a fraud and breach of contract suit brought against the seventeen former Bankers Life and Casualty agents and managers who went on to form the nucleus of American Senior Benefits, ASB has gone on the offensive. 

Launching a website to counteract "negative posting on the internet", ASB tries to set the record straight...or crooked, based on your point of view.

Excerpts from the new site (http://www.americanseniornotbankers.com/ ) are shown below, along with comments in red from your girl Miss Fortune.

American Senior Benefits is NOT Bankers Life and Casualty. This site is to address the few negative posting on the internet. There are far more positive websites about American Senior Benefits, however we find people tend to be more concerned about the negative sites.

Not The Same Company
Part of our Management Staff at one point worked for Bankers Life and Casualty.  When our Staff decided that our values no longer lined up with Bankers we decided to look for another company.  We joined one of the Top Nationwide Insurance Marketing Firms called American Senior Benefits with their Home Office in Kansas City and over 40 Regional Offices across the country.  The Traverse City Office is one of Top Offices in the country for American Senior Benefits that mentors 5 offices across the country.  American Senior Benefits and Bankers Life and Casualty are not Affiliated in anyway. If you are interetested (sic) in knowing why we left Bankers Life and Casualty, please feel free to search Bankers Life and Casualty Lawsuit. 

OK, here's what the lawsuit claimed in its original filing, dated April 26, 2011:

The Bankers Life Traverse City branch office unraveled in early February 2011, when members of Bankers Life’s human resources department and special investigations unit arrived at its 800 Hastings Street location to conduct on-site investigations prompted by complaints regarding the activities of both former and current agents and managers.

Named in the civil complaint filed by Bankers Life in Chicago’s U. S. District Court is former Branch Sales Manager Shannon Nelson.
Also named: former unit sales managers Kelly Dachtler and Ryan Kashmerick, former unit field trainers Timothy Horvath and David Teesdale, and former agents Troy Baxter, Lisa Benson, John Blanck, Bert Brotherton, John Kime, Seth Kishefsky, Joseph Michalec, Michael Robertson, Kurtis Tulppo, and Johnathan Young. Except for Kime, who lives in suburban Detroit, the defendants are Traverse City area residents. 

According to court papers, the investigations revealed numerous instances of “fraud and other improper conduct” by all seventeen defendants.

Nelson, Dachtler and Kashmerick disclosed during their interviews with the Bankers Life special investigations unit in February that they had improperly instructed agents to stop placing sales leads on the “do not call” list unless the individuals had requested that “they not be called at least seven times.” 

According to the court filing, agents that did not follow this instruction were reportedly “subject to retaliation by Nelson, Dachtler and Kashmerick”.

Timothy Horvath acknowledged to Bankers Life investigators during an interview that he had forged “the signature of a policyholder on her policy delivery receipt.”

Jonathan Young revealed to investigators that he had forged “the signatures of several of his family members on policy applications.” Bankers Life alleges in its suit that Young took out the policies to “qualify for a sales bonus,” and then cancelled the policies shortly thereafter.

The Bankers Life suit claimed that Nelson, Dachtler, Kashermick, Horvath and Young, in anticipation of negative consequences of the investigations conducted in Traverse City, obtained licenses to sell insurance products for North American Company for Life & Health Insurance (North American), a competitor of Bankers Life. The suit maintained that these five defendants then “resigned from and/or voluntarily terminated their contracts with Bankers Life and solicited the other defendants to terminate their contracts from Bankers Life and join North American”.

A review of the State of Michigan’s Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation licensing records confirms that Nelson, Dachtler, Kashermick, Horvath and Young first obtained licenses to sell insurance products for North American between March 9 and March 20, 2011.

Bankers Life claimed that they then instructed the other twelve defendants to “obtain a license with North American and prepare to sever their relationships with Bankers Life”.

Shortly before resigning, all seventeen defendants “accessed Bankers Life’s Sales Productivity Network and/or Bankers Life’s Centralized marketing database and downloaded thousands of proprietary policyholder records and prospecting resources”—information that could be used to target specific policyholders and tailor proposals directly to them. The downloaded information included protected health information regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

So it's clearly more than just "part of our Management Staff"; it was 17 managers and agents formerly associated with Bankers Life.

Our Management Staff ran one of the Top Offices for Bankers Life and Casualty.  When we left for American Senior Benefits a Lawsuit was filed 3 years ago with FALSE allegations.  This was case was dismissed with prejudice with no wrong-doing found on our part.  We later have learned that several of these types of cases have been filed by Bankers Life and Casaulty (sic) as several managers across the country have left for different opportunities. 

Although the settlement agreement dismissed the lawsuit "with prejudice" against certain claims made in the original filing, it does outline significant enforcement terms agreed to by both parties regarding non-competition by American Senior Benefits against Bankers Life. The entire four-page settlement agreement follows, making ASB's statements more than a little disingenuous (that means deceptive, Shannon!):

This is Not a Scam

American Senior Benefits is not a scam. We have real people working for us who have real families you earn real income that do a great job for our community.  We have an A rating with the BBB. We work in a regulated business which is governed by the State of Michigan Department of Insurance.  Our Financial Advisors have their securities licenses and are regualted (sic) by FINRA.  

"Working" for us? Maybe, if you consider an independent contractor who relies primarily on commissions equivalent to an employee.

"We have an A rating with the BBB."  Let's take a close look at ASB's BBB review page.

It indicates a significant amount of consumer complaints have been received by the Better Business Bureau regarding ASB's business practices.

This Business is not BBB Accredited

American Senior Benefits, LLC

Find a Location(231) 421-8331333 W Grandview Pkwy Ste 205, Traverse CityMI 49684-2291http://www.americanseniorbenefits.com
BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

BBB Accreditation

American Senior Benefits, LLC is not BBB Accredited.
Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.

To be accredited by BBB, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses must pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that lowered American Senior Benefits, LLC's rating include:
  • Length of time business has been operating.
Factors that raised American Senior Benefits, LLC's rating include:
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 9 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints Summary

9 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 7 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues7
Problems with Product / Service2
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 9

Additional Complaint Information
BBB file contains a pattern of complaints in which complainants state they have received unsolicited phone calls from the company. The complainants state they have requested not to be called, and most are on the federal Do Not Call list, yet they continue to receive calls.
The BBB has contacted the company regarding the pattern of complaints and the company has responded by stating they have implemented changes in their lead system to more accurately monitor and maintain consumer requests of no contact.

Limited Liability Company
Business Management
Mr. Ryan Kashmerick (Regional Vice President)
Contact Information
Principal: Shannon Nelson (President) Customer Contact: Mr. David Teesdale (Executive Administrator)
Number of Employees
Business Category
Insurance Services, Retirement Planning Service, Investment Securities, Insurance - Long Term Care, Insurance - Life, Insurance - Medicare Services
Products & Services
The company is a nationwide insurance marketing organization specializing in the senior market and retirement planning. They offer products relating to Medicare, life insurance, long-term care and investments.

Customer Complaints Summary

9 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 7 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues7
Problems with Product / Service2
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints9

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (9)BBB Closure Definitions
05/17/2013Advertising / Sales Issues
05/13/2013Problems with Product / Service
05/10/2013Advertising / Sales Issues
05/03/2013Advertising / Sales Issues
12/24/2012Advertising / Sales Issues
12/14/2012Advertising / Sales Issues
10/04/2012Advertising / Sales Issues
11/15/2011Advertising / Sales Issues
06/23/2011Problems with Product / Service

And let's take a look at who actually has a "securities license"--only three people, including one no longer associated with ASB. 

FINRA status:

John Blanck-does have securities license, although his record notes that he confirmed spending "40 hrs per week" as an insurance agent.

Blanck also had a recent customer dispute:

The customer opted to close her account, and did not pursue a formal settlement.

Kelly Dachtler-licensed as a "general securities representative", not a securities broker/Series 7; licensed Michigan insurance agent

Joseph Michalec-does have securities license; Michigan insurance agent license "inactive" as of 3/01/2013. Record indicates it was "terminated for education".

Shannon Nelson-no securities broker license; only Michigan licensed insurance agent

Ryan Kashmerick-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Timothy Horvath-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

David Teesdale-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Troy Baxter- no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Lisa Benson-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Bert Brotherton:-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

John Kime:-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Seth Kishefsky-no securities broker license; only licensed insurance Michigan agent

Michael Robertson-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Kurtis Tulppo-no securities broker license; only licensed insurance agent. Michigan insurance agent license "inactive" as of 12/01/2012. Record indicates it was "terminated for education".

Jonathan Young-no securities broker license;Michigan insurance agent licensing records show Young voluntarily surrendered his resident producer license June 28, 2013.

Larry Winslow-no securities broker license; only licensed insurance agent

Bruce Falberg-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

David Poirot-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Kory Robinson- no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

David Teesdale-no securities broker license; only licensed Michigan insurance agent

Michelle King-no securities broker license; no Michigan insurance agent license

We do perform a group interview when looking to add to our team. I feel it is necessary due to the amount of information that needs to be shared with new candidates.  Every candidate is made aware in a phone interivew (sic) that this is a group interview.  To learn more about American Senior Benefits go to the National Website www.americanseniorbenefits.com or www.asbtraverse-city.com and www.kashasb.com for the Traverse City, MI Office.

Never Been Contacted
Our Group has never been contacted by those posting negative comments about American Senior Benefits.  Responsible and legitimate reporting dictates that you contact all parties before publishing information.  

Miss Fortune contacted American Senior Benefits in August 2011 for a comment, and received an email from Davie Teesdale stating:

Currently we are resolving the issues with our lawyers.  Bankers has a two year non-compete clause that ensures that we cannot replace Bankers clients.  We are adhering to this stipulation.  We left Bankers for the following reasons:  1)  We only wanted to deal with A rated AM best companies (Bankers is B rated)
2)  Have a wider product portfolio  3)  Better customer service.
     Thank you --
     David Teesdale
     Executive Administrator
     American Senior Benefits

     333 Grandview Parkway  Suite 205
     Traverse City, MI   49684
     (231) 421-8330

And now you can make up your own mind. If you have any questions, or represent American Senior Benefits, you may contact Miss Fortune directly at: tcmissfortune@yahoo.com


  1. I am stunned. Here we have lots of information on what I would think would be a lively, contentious topic, with many points of view, and there are no comments.
    Oh well. I live in a state (Wa.) which has standards for health-care providers and we are not troubled by Narconon, thankfully.
    I'm glad I don't have to think about the kind of people who would use people's drug-troubles to provide an expensive fraudulent "treatment". It's a nasty thought.

  2. glad to see asb still helping people save money and clear their name. Never going to find a more legitimate company holding strict ethics when it comes to taking care of their clients especially protecting senior's investments from the stock market.

    1. Andy, the air in Cadillac must be very thin. Or have you just drunk the ASB FlavorAid?

  3. Craftyandy’s commentary in support of ASB is nonsensical silliness. I laughed out loud when I read it. AMERICAN SENIOR BENEFITS has only Mr. Shannon Nelson to thank for their ongoing negative reputation. Shannon made the bed which he must now sleep starting way back in 1999 when he brought his twisted personality up from Indiana. There is a very real reason so much negative commentary exists about BANKERS LIFE AND CASUALTY, AMERICAN SENIOR BENEFITS, and in particular Mr. Shannon Nelson. The venom, dislike, and distrust is because Shannon treated many people poorly for many years. Between 1999 and 2011 the so-called management at Bankers Life and Casualty Branch 3095 in Traverse City interviewed over a thousand people in (often brutal) group interviews, contracted hundreds as licensed insurance. Internally, the ever-changing management team was told over and over that “any agent who doesn’t make it here at Branch 3095, who quits, or who is terminated will be titled a shit-bird. Management is here to stay but agents come and go”. That is a direct quote and only one of thousands of Shannon-isms that paint a picture of a lonely, egotistical, clinically narcissist, and materialist individual who preys upon the weaknesses of others. This is only my opinion but it is not one bit an exaggeration in any way. There were many (hundreds) different occasions where insurance agents within office 3095 were brought to literal tears during brutal meetings where they were mocked after not meeting sales numbers. In one such end-of-month sales meeting held at a local hotel the 5 lowest performing agents were made to sit at the front of the room in front of everyone and were each grilled to the point of breaking. One young woman sobbed openly in one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever witnessed. It was her last day working for Bankers Life. In 2001 Shannon Nelson purchased an ornate carved desk for over $5,000 because exuded the kind of powerful materialistic image that he craved. He called it the “Cockasaurus”. Cockasaurus is of course a made up word, another Shannonism, which stood for “big-cock-like”. Instead of saying “intestinal fortitude” he would say “testicular fortitude”, another phallic Shannonism. When Shannon became interested in using psychology and philosophy in the workplace things grew grimmer. He read everything from Freud to Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), to Dali Lama (really) to The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene – and then attempted to incorporate his interpretations of those books directly and overtly into his management of the office. At one point Shannon required everyone to read the first part of a psychology self-help book on how to uncover childhood wounds… and then how to take steps to heal. The problem was that he only copied and printed the chapters on uncovering those wounds but got bored of the study and dismissed the remainder of the book. So everyone was required to uncover their hidden psychological wounds in an incredibly unhealthy office setting and nobody knew how to handle the emotions brought forward. THEN he would use the self-disclosed information against the people later. In one case an individual disclosed to a smaller group in management that he was sexually abused as a child – only to find out later that after he was fired that Shannon Nelson openly discussed this private information at management meetings and explained to the other managers that “He was weakened by being sexually abused and was destined to be a shit-bird”. I won’t even talk here about how agents and management treated customers. “There is no time for customer service”. Mr. Nelson made his bed years ago – long before the Bankers Life and Casualty corporate staff came and shut him down in 2011. Now he’s taken his bed to American Senior Benefits. Mr. Nelson isn’t solely guilty at this point because Mr. Ryan Kashmerick, Mr. Jonathan Young, Mr. John Blanck, and others have stood by his side and replicated him. They are an extension of him and it shows.

    1. DoThe RightThing:

      Glad to see you back and commenting! Yes, "craftyandy" seemed full of it, but Miss Fortune does not discriminate.

      All opinions welcome here, especially astute ones like yours.

    2. BRAVO!!!!! These are EXACTLY my experiences and observations. I feel so, so sorry for those staying there. They are being torn down, layer by layer, still.

  4. To all the CRAFTYANDY 's out there... but more importantly to any current or potential customers of American Senior Benefits: Mr. Shannon Nelson, the former ringleader of the Northern Michigan branch of Bankers Life and Casualty Company - and the current stink-leader of American Senior Benefits, has been fine tuning his greasy sales philosophy for nearly 40 years... ever since he got his sales start as a boy in Florida peddling fish to homeless folk. That’s true, by the way. So, don’t be surprised if he denies any culpability when you ask him about this: http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=591413 (Margaret Zimmerman, aka “MAGGIE”, was Shannon’s top producing future felon. As the matter of fact she was the top producing agent for over 24 consecutive months and this brought great joy to Shannon Nelson. Unfortunately her sales were crooked. She wasn’t busted until she left Bankers Life and Casualty but the simple reason for that is that Shannon Nelson refused to contact authorities and even concealed everything from the company which cut his paychecks. I only have 4096 characters here and don’t feel like creating my own blog so I gotta cut down the details… Before you speak with Shannon Nelson about Margaret “Maggie” Zimmerman you should reference these: http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-46849_47203-122063--,00.html and http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-164-34739_34811-133721--,00.html and http://static.record-eagle.com/2007/feb/17scam.htm and this one too... http://static.record-eagle.com/2005/jul/29estgrow.htm. You will note the name John Brzezinski (Jonathon Lee Brzezinski) who is also a convicted felon – having served his time after working under Shannon Nelson. I will state this – I have never heard, first hand or otherwise, that Shannon Nelson has ever promoted stealing, fraudulent selling, Ponzi schemes, or otherwise. In regards to the Margaret Zimmerman saga he is culpable because his extreme arrogance guided his lack of action. People lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to Margaret Zimmerman… not rich people, but regular folks – and if Shannon Nelson would have acted on just one of the files out of the tens of files brought to him by Office Manager Mrs. Linda Moore over the course of many months then Mrs. Zimmerman would have been in jail. This was not a foggy, fuzzy, subtle situation. This was blatant criminal behavior. Boxes of hard evidence were brought to Shannon’s attention time and time again which showed beyond doubt that Margaret Zimmerman, a Bankers Life and Casualty agent contracted by Shannon Nelson himself, was ripping people off. One simple phone call could have ended it but all Shannon Nelson could think about was Shannon Nelson. The handful of others that knew about Margaret Zimmerman’s criminal activity also share some culpability for not notify authorities – but their jobs and livelihood were threatened by Shannon. Are you getting the picture? Is he a completely different person in 2013? You decide.

    1. Quite a vivid depiction of the fraud that happens in a small, trusting town. This is definitely a cautionary tale.