Our Team



Vice President and Senior Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1976
First Consulting 2012

As a business strategist, Joe is focused on the compliance and regulatory needs of the insurance industry working for insurance companies and agents. His insurance industry experience and background combine to fashion a professional who has established effective compliance procedures; developed successful relationships nationwide; implemented software products and introduced process changes that improved efficiencies and streamlined communication.

“The positive reputation of First Consulting & Administration coupled with my previous insurance company, vendor and NAIC experiences makes me proud working in the core activities as an industry leader” says Bieniek.

Joe currently serves as an advisor to the Kansas City Chapter of the CPCU Society Board of Directors. Some of the past positions Joe has held in outside organizations include being the Treasurer and Board of Director of the Insurance Regulatory Examiners Society (IRES), Director and Secretary of the IRES Foundation and the Secretary and Regional Director on the Board of Directors of the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP). Joe has held numerous positions on the chapter level within the CPCU Society, AICP and AICP’s predecessor organization the Society of State Filers. He is an active member of the Regulatory & Legislative Interest Group Committee of the CPCU Society. Joe is the recipient of the 2002 Robert W. Lennon Award presented by the AICP and the 2001 President's Award from the AICP in recognition of his service and dedication to the AICP.  Within IRES Joe received the Schrader-Nelson Publications Award in 2012 for his article titled Demystifying Title Insurance; the Chartrand Communications Award in 2012 and in 2013 Joe received the President's Award for his contributions to the development and growth of IRES.

Joe.Bieniek@FirstConsulting.com    download Joe's vCard here:  (right click and Save link/target as)

John B. Palmer, III, B.B.A., J.D., CLU, FLMI, ChFC, AIRC, ACS

Vice President and Senior Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1967
First Consulting 1986

To assist today's insurance executives and managers, more than just narrowly focused knowledge is needed. A balance between the big picture and details is essential. Palmer's wide range of experience, from agent to company vice president to attorney, allows him to apply that type of balance to benefit First Consulting's clients and to supplement First Consulting's team with First Consulting's Partners.

Palmer's areas of expertise include policy and contract drafting, clients' regulatory filing and approvals, advertising compliance and other regulatory issues, particularly life, annuities, long-term care and critical illness. He has provided legal advice to policyowner service and claims operations. He has assisted in the development of life and annuity products from term to equity-indexed, as well as long term care, critical illness and specialty property and casualty products.

"At First Consulting," John says, "we have a team that can combine new and innovative ideas with proven principles and methodology to get results. Our First Consulting Partners each have the same type of innovative team."


C.J. Rathbun, B.F.A., FLMI, HIA, CCEP, AIRC

Senior Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1992
First Consulting 1995-2000, 2010

C. J. Rathbun oversees and provides expertise for the First Consulting Operational Compliance and Enterprise Risk Management practice. She builds and delivers compliance training courses (Anti-Fraud, Privacy, AML and OFAC), as well as corporate governance materials and training, webinars on company and Board regulatory matters, and industry workshops and conference sessions. Between 1997 and 2008, C.J. established a proven track record as a Qualified Assessor for the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), leading internal and independent company reviews, and helping companies address operational and market conduct challenges. Subsequently, C. J. was a member of the Market Regulation department of the NAIC before rejoining First Consulting in 2010.

First Consulting’s advertising compliance practice is also under C.J.’s oversight. Services are designed to meet agency, marketing organization (IMO) and insurer client needs for marketing material compliance review, compliant systems of control, and advertising compliance training. C.J. was instrumental in establishing the industry’s premier Advertising Compliance training event, offered annually since 1999. From that venue, she co-founded the first advertising-focused industry organization, the Insurance Advertising Compliance Association (IAdCA) in 2002. She currently serves on the IAdCA Board of Directors.


Sean P. Cox, B.A., HIA, MHP

Assistant Vice President and Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1995
First Consulting 1995

Sean is experienced with group and individual life, annuity, health, property and casualty filings, advertising compliance, TPA licensing, workflow management, developing and implementing successful product filing strategies to improve client speed to market. He also played a key role in the initial development of First Consulting’s On-Line Research Services and has participated with the development of various industry initiatives including SERFF.

Sean has a degree in History from the University of Missouri. He is a frequent speaker and contributor at regional and national industry conferences, including the ACLI, AICP, CEFLI, NAIC and PIMA. Sean is the recipient of the 2014 AICP President’s Award, 2015 AICP Heartland Chapter President’s Award and currently serves as a national chairperson for the AICP and has held numerous officer positions within the AICP.


Steve LeHew, J.D., CPCU, FLMI

Employed Insurance Industry 1994
First Consulting 2018

Steve LeHew has over 20 years of product development and compliance experience in the insurance industry. He holds both the CPCU and FLMI designations, and is a national past president of the AICP (Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals). He is the recipient of the AICP’s President’s Award in 2010, and has held numerous leadership positions with the organization.

Steve’s experience in the Home Office includes assisting multiple carriers with their form development and filing efforts for a broad variety of product lines including group accident, group critical illness, employment practices liability, employee benefits liability, commercial general liability, liquor liability, commercial auto, commercial property, equipment breakdown, commercial inland marine, crime, umbrella and excess.

After attending Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Steve is admitted to the Illinois bar, and also holds a bachelor’s degree in the teaching of Spanish and ESL from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign.


Jason C. Robbins, B.B.A., J.D.

Employed Insurance industry 2015
First Consulting 2015

Prior to joining First Consulting, Jason provided legal representation in administrative and civil litigation. His areas of expertise include compliance matters impacting Life and Annuity products, as well as Third Party Administrators. Experienced with business practice review, anti-fraud, general compliance, TPA licensing, corporate amendments and expansion (UCAA), warranty provider licensing and other insurance related entity licensing.

Jason believes that, “Co-sourcing has uniquely positioned First Consulting to adapt to the varying needs of each client and provide seamless business solutions.  This allows First Consulting to consistently deliver the efficient and reliable services needed in today’s marketplace.”

Jason is admitted to the Bar in Kansas and United States District Court, District of Kansas. Jason has degrees in Business Administration from Washburn University and Law from the University of Kansas School of Law.


Claire Miller, B.S., CPCU, AIC

Associate Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1993
First Consulting 2013

Claire Miller is an Associate Consultant for First Consulting.  “First Consulting’s Co-Sourcing philosophy allows us to meet the specific needs of our clients.  We can be as involved as the client wants in order to meet their compliance needs.”

Claire’s background is in Property and Casualty.  She began her career as a life and health agent, but quickly moved into the Property and Casualty arena.  She has been a personal lines underwriter.  In addition to underwriting, Claire was a claims adjuster.  She has handled a wide range of claims for both personal and commercial lines including auto and liability claims.  Most recently Claire was a claims advocate for a large insurance agency in Central Kansas.

Claire holds a degree in Business Administration. She earned her CPCU designation and is currently the Immediate-Past President for the Kansas City CPCU Society Chapter.  She also holds the AIC designation.


Sheila K. Lawrence, B.B.A., CPCU, ACP

Associate Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1969
First Consulting 2008

Lawrence has wide-ranging experience managing filings for commercial property and casualty lines of business including professional liability, inland marine, auto, general liability, property, BOP, aviation and title insurance. She also has extensive experience in resolving filing objections, amendatory endorsement development and research.

"Our team of experienced insurance professionals helps insurers meet their regulatory and compliance goals and obtain unique solutions tailored to specific needs,” says Sheila.

Lawrence previously managed regulatory compliance staff as Vice President/Operations Manager of a major national insurer. Sheila has a degree in Business Administration. She has been active in regional and national industry associations.


Debby Paris, B.A., B.S.E., FLMI, ACP

Associate Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1986

First Consulting 2003

Debby’s insurance background is in Life and Annuities.  She began her insurance career with a broker, assisting with applications and open enrollments, as well as customer service.  She also spent over ten years in an insurer’s home office working with product development after pricing through agent training. She is experienced with product development of traditional life and annuities including regulatory compliance issues, filing products through SERFF, advertising review and training development and delivery.

“Our co-sourcing and team approach allows us to stay on top of the dynamic, constantly evolving world of insurance compliance so that we can best help our clients meet their specific needs.”

Debby currently serves on the IAdCA Board of Directors and is Secretary for the organization.  She routinely presents sessions on advertising compliance topics at industry venues.

Debby graduated from Northeast Missouri University (now known as Truman State University) with a B.S.E in English, and B.A. in Theater/Speech.


Elaine Douglas, B.S., ALMI

Associate Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 1994
First Consulting 2018

Elaine's areas of expertise include policy and contract drafting, regulatory filing and approvals, advertising compliance and other regulatory issues, particularly in life, disability, health and property & casualty lines of business. 

Elaine is the recipient of the 2011 Robert W. Lennon Award presented by the AICP and the 2007 President's Award from the AICP in recognition of her service and dedication. She most recently served as National Past President.

Elaine has a degree in Psychology from Portland State University and holds the ALMI designation. 


Kevin Wiggs, B.S.

Associate Consultant
Employed Insurance Industry 2005
First Consulting 2005

Kevin’s areas of expertise include extensive experience in licensing and related regulatory compliance for Third Party Administrators, corporate amendment and expansion (UCAA) and other insurance related entity licensing, as well as policy and rate filings through SERFF, particularly life and health.

“First Consulting’s philosophy on Co-Sourcing has been an innovative approach to flexibility of services, and the decades of industry experience are unmatched.”

Kevin has a degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas and was elected to the SERFF Product Steering Committee and served from 2010 to 2015.


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