Remembering John Garner

On February 12, 2018, Bolton & Company lost more than a Chief Compliance Officer. We lost a dear friend who was loved by all who worked with him and a champion who tirelessly worked to protect our clients.

In only four short years, John Garner reimagined Bolton’s approach to compliance and made it even more accessible to our client and prospect base.

Tirelessly working with his wife and business partner Gerti Garner, the two made sure that clients’ compliance needs were met and brought John’s vast knowledge outside of Bolton through hundreds of blogs, compliance wrap-ups, alerts, workshops and by supporting organizations like the Disabilities Management Employer Coalition. In addition, John authored the “Health Insurance Answer Book” and “Self-Funding Health Benefit Plans,” and mentored many of Bolton’s brokers on compliance subjects.

“When I think of John, I pictured him as Yoda and I was the Jedi trying to learn his powers,” said Executive Vice President Rob Boldt. “I used to go sit in his office and drill him with questions and scenarios. I could tell that he enjoyed my thirst to learn a topic that he dedicated his life to—he never turned me away.”

John started his compliance career more than 35 years ago. He founded Garner Consulting in 1987 after being a principal in the Los Angeles office of Towers Perrin. He has managed a group claims office for Lincoln National Life, supervised a claims office for Prudential, and served as an underwriter.

Among his designations were Chartered Life Underwriter, Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, Group Benefit Associate, Retirement Plans Associate, Certified Management Consultant and a Certified Flexible Compensation Instructor.

Gerti and John Garner during Bolton & Company’s trip to Hawaii.

“Though John’s vocation was very serious and highly regulated, he tended to keep things loose and always added a laugh to break the mood,” said Director of Employee Benefits Tom Polenzani. “A lifelong Dodgers fan, John was known to bring that spirit to the workplace. There was never a party, celebration, or any reason to gather and have fun that John and Gerti missed. And he always matched his outfit to the occasion—Hawaiian shirts in July, orange jack-o’-lanterns in October and Christmas trees in December.”

“John never acted like he was the smartest person in the room although often he was,” said Executive Vice President Jacqueline Roth. “He never took himself too seriously. I will remember his giggle and that he didn’t see titles or hierarchies. John saw people as individuals.”

His legacy will live on at Bolton in how we champion our clients and serve their compliance needs.


About Bolton

Bolton & Company is a leading, independent insurance broker serving the needs of thousands of clients across the country. Founded in 1931, our story is one that continues to grow with the industries, organizations and communities we serve every day, and our success has been dependent upon fostering an environment where our team of professionals can grow, develop and thrive in their roles to best support our clients.

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