About SG

Agent success is the only focus for Sunderland Group. We have built a loyal following through the years because, simply put, we continue to prove our support for the independent agent.

Superior service, supported by the newest technology, provides you the tools to:

  • Find new leads
  • Make accurate recommendations
  • Close business easily and efficiently
  • Provide peace of mind to your customers
  • Place more money in your wallet

We provide the best programs, incentive and tools to help you win- partnering with us is one of the easiest and wisest decisions you will ever make.

Our Sunderland Group Team

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Brad Sunderland


As co-founder of Sunderland Group, Brad and his brother Derek have a combined nearly 60 years helping independent agents maintain their independence and providing quality support so all independent financial professionals will never be alone. In a career spanning over 3 decades, Brad has experience and responsibility for every aspect of running and leading a Field Marketing Organization. He’s also been involved in everything including bringing proprietary technology systems in lines including annuity, final expense, life and health to help Sunderland Group become the premier Health & Wealth FMO in the industry. Brad takes great pride in helping agent's success become a reality.

Derek Sunderland Photo

Derek Sunderland

Vice President

As co-founder of Sunderland Group and acting Vice President, Derek brings a focus of support to his staff and to the field. Derek understands work doesn’t start or stop at 8-5, in fact he prides himself on the principles of hard work, ethics, honesty and loyalty. These form his best practice approach when dealing with all the carriers, agents and staff. Over the last few years, Derek has made considerable investments to make sure compliant driven marketing models were in the forefront. This approach has provided increased placement ratios, reductions in business overhead expenses incurred by agents and an understanding that at the end of the day all business is transacted in the best interest of the client.

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Karla Nelson

Director of Operations

For over 25 years, Karla has been involved with Sunderland Group learning every aspect of the business. Karla started her career in licensing and contracting and now oversees agent services and business efficiencies within Sunderland Group’s daily operations. She also assists in tracking and updating all carrier agreements, provides leadership to all divisions and helps instill a deep understanding and discipline within financial service methodologies and compliance to the home office team and the field.

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Cris Zimmerman

Director of Business Development

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Tim Fornes

Sales & Marketing Director

Competent, decisive and dedicated senior executive with practical experience and extensive knowledge of financial services and marketing in North America. Leader, mentor, motivator. Executive with a solid understanding of the sales process, product development, integrating IT with business processes, marketing strategy, critical evaluation of financial statements, liabilities and responsibilities. Combine sophisticated financial expertise with tactical execution of nation-wide and North American initiatives to enhance bottom line performance.

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Aja Nyquist

Marketing & Social Media Manager

I enjoy helping advisors turn plan participants into planning customers. Motivated Business Professional. Strong planner and problem solver who readily adapts to change, works independently and exceeds expectations. Able to juggle multiple priorities and meet tight deadlines without compromising quality. • Social Media • Email Marketing • Inbound Marketing • Skilled in Microsoft Products

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Brian Carlsrud

Annuity Suitability Manager

Since 2006, Brian has worked with Sunderland Group heading up the compliance department. When you’re in need of making sure that business is being written and placed under the best interest, Brian is your person to confirm. His commitment to the Sunderland Group Team as well as to the agents in the field, ensures that everyone can sleep well at night knowing that the annuity processing and compliance is taken care of. Suitability and Brian are synonymous with success. His integrity and character accompany his best practice style when cultivating agent relationships and review processes that make sure the agent, adviser and client are all in good standing.

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Cory Clasen

Sales Consultant

For nearly 20 years it gives me such pride to have worked with the greatest people in this industry. By working together we have sold more then 4 billion of annuity premium and over 50 million of life premium. Better yet, we have secured the retirement of 1000's of customers across the country and putting them all in a position to enjoy their golden years. Thank you to everyone for your confidence in myself, I look forward to helping grow your practice.

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Curt Peterson

Sales Consultant

For over 15 years, I have been afforded success in financial services due to the amazing financial advisors and insurance agents I have worked with. With a consultative approach, I understand each financial professional runs their business in their own unique way. I have taken the time to foster these relationships through case design, illustrations and planning which has helped all of my clients win big. We are moving in a new era with updated marketing and a digital presence and I’m proud to be able to offer you help that will enhance and grow our relationship and your business.

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Dean Tong

Sales Consultant

With over 15 years in financial services supporting and servicing independent agents across the country, I have one thing in mind… Making you money. My method is about personal interaction and I have a lot to offer. Through my years at SG I have: Developed relationships with insurance agents to maintain and increase sales, Educated insurance agents on available products and services from over 65 carriers, Researched current market trends and provide direction and guidance to solve problems.

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Jeff Kolnes

Sales Consultant

After graduating from Minnesota State Moorhead in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, I joined the family at Sunderland Group as a life and annuity marketing consultant. In 2001 I obtained my life and health Insurance license and shortly after that passed the securities Series 6 & 63 tests. Over the past 16+ years, I have built a strong book of top Advisors, and help them on a daily basis with case design, product selection, and overall business planning.

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Rodney Schmitz

Sales Consultant

For almost two decades, I've been a highly motivated, independent, self-directed professional with a broad range of sales and marketing success. I use my knowledge in leading profit-generating operations to enhance productivity and drive sustained business performance. I pride myself as being a solid communicator with a strong ability to collaborate with all levels of an organization. I manage a full facet of advisory, sales and promotional activites for advisors nationwide. Choosing to work with me means that you will receive high-end customer service that is aimed at one thing: making you more money.

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Travis Magnuson

Sales Consultant

For over 13 years I have been in the financial service industry. My greatest joys come from analyzing specific situations and turning the complex into specific customized solutions for advisors and consumers alike. Because of this method, I’ve been able to develop and maintain personal relationships from the beginning. I work with a wide range of individuals and I look forward to helping you grow your practice, while putting more money in your pockets.

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Heidi Reed

Life Case Manager

Since 2006, Heidi has been involved in the life insurance business. She started her career in the banking industry but left as she saw a way she could help not only agents with process improvement when submitting business but also could help on the consumer side by making sure customer were being sold products that served their best interest. With Heidi’s determination, along with a strong work ethic, placement ratios are now as good as ever. Heidi has a deep understanding of the insurance business, case design and more importantly a respect for everyone she works with.

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Tara Nelson

Life Case Manager

Immediately after college, Tara went into financial services and has been working since 2004 in some capacity in the insurance industry. Currently with Sunderland Group since 2008, she has been a key player in New Business and helping agents place business. Her talents don’t stop there as she has been cross trained in the field of case design and has worked as a Case Manager with Prudential. Tara's work ethic is second to none, she understands what it takes to get repeat business and strives to make the experience the very best for each and every agent.

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Lori Jorgenson

Licensing & Contracting

Lori Jorgenson has enjoyed working with the Sunderland Group since 1995. She spends most of her time working in the Licensing Department, but also answer our main phone line. The employees in our office, in the home offices, and our agents' requests are very important to her and she always does her best to make the contracting process go as smoothly as possible.

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Tara Olstad

Licensing & Contracting

Tara Olstad has been working in financial services and with Sunderland Group since 1998. Her experience in leadership expediting newly licensed agents is among the best. Tara prides herself on the quality of service she provides to the agents in the field. She understands the importance of making sure all of the agents she works with have current education and contracting to perform their business day- to-day. Tara has had that commitment spanning 3 decades and continues to lead today.