Content sponsored by Group 1001

In this Thought Leadership Point of View, Group 1001 executives Bill Shelton and Minji Ro make clear that innovation doesn’t only happen in the lab.

What makes Group 1001 a leader in innovation?

Bill Shelton: Group 1001 is a tech-forward financial services company based here in Indianapolis. Everything we do is designed to help individuals and communities thrive. Our insurance and annuities make financial products easy to understand and accessible to all, and our online investing digital platform, Gainbridge®, gives individuals control over their savings and their futures.

What sets Group 1001 apart as a leader in innovation is our holistic approach. We integrate easy-to-use technology, top-tier talent, and exceptional products to create experiences that meet our customers’ needs. We are committed to pushing the boundaries and shaping the industry.

For example, the Gainbridge® digital platform has available the FastBreakTM, a multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA) designed for younger customers and to guarantee principal investment with different tax treatment compared to a traditional annuity. It’s a risk-free way to invest a lump sum, set a term, and accumulate interest over a specified investment period, ranging from three to ten years*. Customers can earn a guaranteed rate that’s currently 4x higher yield than the average CD1.

Minji Ro: Another example of our innovative approach is our strategic partnerships with women athletes, including Billie Jean King, Caitlin Clark, and Annika Sörenstam. By championing women athletes as brand ambassadors, we not only elevate their voices but also showcase our commitment to gender equality and empowerment. We recently signed Caitlin as a brand ambassador for the Gainbridge® digital platform.

This innovative digital platform has available a new product, ParityFlexTM, which is designed to address women’s unique retirement needs—the security of fixed growth, a measure of liquidity for changing life circumstances, and a guaranteed stream of lifetime income. The ParityFlexTM has a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit: payment of a fixed amount every year for life and the knowledge of never outliving the income from ParityFlexTM. Even if all that was invested is paid out, the ParityFlexTM will continue to pay income at the regular rate**.

How do you approach the development of new financial products to ensure they meet the evolving needs of your customers?

Bill: When it comes to developing new financial products, our approach is always customer-centric. At Gainbridge®, we prioritize direct-to-consumer channels, which provide greater accessibility to financial products, allowing customers to research, compare, and purchase products at their convenience, often online or on their smartphones. Customers have direct access to product details and can make informed decisions based on their individual needs and preferences. Selling directly to consumers empowers our customers to take control of their financial decisions and investments.

Minji: We explore untapped markets, looking for opportunities where existing financial products may not adequately meet the needs of customers. By identifying and addressing these gaps, we can tailor our offerings to serve previously underserved segments in the market. We recognize the importance of catering to a diverse customer base. Our product development process is inclusive and considers the unique financial situations of various demographic groups. This ensures that our products are accessible and relevant to a wide range of customers.

Gainbridge® has a number of sponsorships, particularly in women’s sports. How does supporting women’s sports align with your company’s overall mission and values?

Bill: Supporting women’s sports aligns with our company’s mission and values, which prioritize inclusivity, empowerment, and community. Almost half of our sponsorship dollars go to women’s sports, far exceeding the national average of 9% that brands spend in this category. This includes our multi-year sponsorship with Caitlin Clark, plus our sponsorship of events like The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge® at Pelican and the Billie Jean King Cup® by Gainbridge®, known as the World Cup of Women’s Tennis, to name a few. These sponsorships align with the fact that 50 percent of annuity purchasers are women.

Minji: When our CEO and President Dan Towriss sought to build a sponsorship portfolio, he wanted to ensure that it was reflective of our employee and customer base. As Bill mentioned, 50 percent of annuities purchased are by women—and yet most products and marketing assume that the default buyers are men. Through our sponsorships, we continue to actively promote gender equality both on and off the field. We believe in providing equal opportunities for women athletes, challenging stereotypes, and breaking down barriers in traditionally male-dominated spaces.

Last weekend was the Indy 500®, and Gainbridge® was the presenting sponsor. How does that sponsorship and your other support of auto racing fit into your mission?

Bill: As our CEO and President Dan Towriss has explained, Gainbridge’s simplified approach to delivering annuities empowers investors who seek to maximize performance but stay out of trouble, amidst market volatility. In investing, like in racing, anything can happen. It’s important to stay calm and have a strategy for the unexpected. The parallels between racing and our business—a commitment to success, innovation, technology, and making every second count—ensure a meaningful partnership.

1 Source:®, national average of 5-year CD, week of 4/15/24. Rates subject to change.
*Please visit for current rates, full product disclosures and disclaimer, and other important information. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. FastBreak™, a multi-year guaranteed annuity, is issued by Gainbridge Life Insurance Company, Zionsville, Indiana.
**Please visit for current rates, full product disclosures and disclaimer, and other important information. Withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken prior to age 59 1/2, there may be a 10% federal tax penalty. Withdrawals may result in a surrender charge, or a market value adjustment (MVA) and excess withdrawals may result in a reduction of future payments under the guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. ParityFlex™, a multi-year guaranteed annuity, is issued by Gainbridge Life Insurance Company, Zionsville, Indiana.