Joel Cavaness

About Joel

Since 1997, Joel D. Cavaness has served as President of Risk Placement Services (RPS). After cofounding RPS as a scratch operation, he has been instrumental in driving its rapid growth to become one of the largest wholesale brokers, managing general agents and program administrators, and the largest MGA/Lloyd’s Coverholder in the U.S. From RPS’s home office in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Joel currently leads a team of nearly 3,000 professionals in more than 80 offices. 

Prior to establishing RPS, Joel was President of International Special Risk Services, Inc. (ISRS), which provided specialized insurance placements for Gallagher’s retail customers in the areas of Public Entity, Property, Casualty, Personal Lines and Equipment Breakdown. 

He joined Gallagher in St. Louis in 1986 as a marketing representative, working his way up to Area VP by 1990, a position he held until relocating to Gallagher’s home office outside Chicago in 1996 to lead ISRS. Before joining Gallagher, he spent several years as a casualty underwriter for standard and excess/surplus lines carriers.

Joel is an active champion for this industry, serving for over 10 years on the board of directors for the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA), and held the Board President seat for the 2019-2020 term.

Joel has been recognized as Reactions North America Insurance Broking CEO of the Year, 

Insurance Business America Global 100 and Insurance Business America Hall of Fame.

He has led his team to be recognized as an All-Star Wholesale Broker & MGA, Best Places to Work in Insurance, and a Top Insurance Workplace. 

Joel is an active advocate of RPS’s corporate social responsibility, supporting and promoting involvement in employee-driven fundraisers and volunteer initiatives, as well as developing and promoting new talent through RPS’s robust internship program and establishing the diversity, equity and inclusion committees.

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University with a B.S. in Business Administration, Joel additionally holds Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designations.

About Risk Placement Services

Risk Placement Services (RPS) is one of the nation’s largest specialty insurance products distributors, offering valuable solutions in wholesale brokerage, binding authority, programs, standard lines, and specialized auto, through its Pronto Insurance brand. Headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, RPS has more than 80 offices nationwide. For more information, visit