John F. Nichols is a nationally recognized disability benefits consultant, the creator of disability products and administration systems and an expert witness in disability proceedings. Nichols serves as president of Disability Resource Group, a national insurance agency that he founded in 1999.
He earned a BA in business in 1984 from the University of St. Thomas. He entered the industry in 1984 as a career agent with Minnesota Life and went on to Mass Mutual as a career agent and brokerage manager.
Nichols joined the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors in 1985 and was elected NAIFA secretary in 2011. He was the 124th national president for the year 2013-2014. Previously, he served as an executive board member and board trustee from 2007- 2011. As a trustee, he was the liaison to LILI, Corporate Partners and AHIA and chaired the AHIA Task Force.
Finding a special passion in NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), Nichols graduated from the program in 2003 and went on to be a LILI moderator in Illinois in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2005, he was asked to join the national LILI subcommittee as an adviser and was instrumental in the creation and presentation of LILI 7 at the national convention.
As a past director for NAIFA Illinois, Nichols’s responsibilities were programs, LILI, finance committee chair and liaison to two Illinois local associations. At the local level, he went through the chairs of the Chicago West Branch Association, serving as branch president in 1990-1991. Additionally, Nichols went through the chairs of NAIFA Chicago Region Board to the presidency in 2005-2006. During his tenure, Chicago was the only large local to increase its membership and was the second largest local in the federation. In 2007, NAIFA Chicago Region recognized Nichols with their Leadership in Life Award.
Nichols is a frequent speaker at an array of national meetings, including MDRT Main Platform in 2012, NAIFA National and more than 500 NAIFA programs and other industry programs.
In 1993, Nichols had a near-death experience from a water skiing accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down to his toes. Through six years of rehabilitation, he reached a level of recovery that less than 1% of all spinal cord injury patients attain. Nichols, who in 2010 and 2012 was LIFE’s industry spokesperson for Disability Insurance Awareness Month, has chronicled his story in his first book, “Income Protection, The Conversation.” His second book, “Passion, Purpose, Protection: The Ability of Disability Insurance,” shares with the consumer the real value of protecting their talents.
Nichols is actively involved in the following industry organizations: Million Dollar Round Table, GAMA International, Society of Financial Service Professionals, International DI Society and American College.
Nichols received his masters of science management with an emphasis on leadership in 2011 from American College. Additionally, he is a member of the President’s Circle for gift contributions.
As a life and qualifying MDRT member, Nichols has two Court of the Table and seven Top of the Table qualifications. He is an Excalibur knight level contributor to the MDRT Foundation, as well as a major donor to the Legacy of Life program.
In 2012, Nichols was the recipient of the James E. Smittkamp Award, presented by the Illinois Spinal Cord Injury Association for outstanding service and fundraising for the cause. In 2012, Nichols received the Richard M. Daley and Maggie Daley “Golden Shoe” Award for being the #1 Bank of America Chicago Marathon fundraisers for non-for-profits.