Pacific Group has been providing California Corporations with 50 to 1,000 employees with unsurpassed service since 1991. Pacific Group is a privately held, full-service Employee Benefits Brokerage Firm that designs, administers, and manages the costs of our clients’ Employee Benefits Programs.

Our hands-on philosophy as a service organization acts as a solid foundation of reliability and trust. We undertake a limited number of clients so that we are able to provide customers with experienced, continuous, and personalized service. We are committed to fulfilling our promises and sticking to our values by delivering outstanding performance to our clients.

The Pacific Group team is comprised of individuals who are highly experienced in employee benefit design and administration, consulting, and cost management.

Pacific Group has formulated programs on behalf of Aetna, AIG, Anthem of California, Blue Shield, CIGNA, Guardian, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Principal, United Healthcare, and other prominent insurance and financial service companies.

Our results-driven approach allows us to act as an extension of our clients’ own Human Resources staff and provide value-added services with unmatched service. Contact us today and invite us to join your team.

The Laguna Hills Team

  • My professional career started early at age 13 when I debuted my entrepreneurial skills as the “owner / sales manager / marketing coordinator” for a fireworks stand in Raleigh Hills, Oregon, in order to save money to purchase my first car. Although that stand was a rousing success, I didn’t want to be a “Fireworks Extraordinaire” for the rest of my life.

    I served four years in the United States Air Force following my high school graduation from Beaverton High School as a Crew Member on a C-141 Starlifter. I returned home, following my service, to play collegiate basketball for Concordia College, located in Portland, Oregon. Soon after starting that endeavor, I tore my ACL playing basketball and my days as a college athlete were suddenly over. I left Concordia College to attend Portland State University.

    In 1985, I was recruited to MetLife as a sales associate. In March of 1987, MetLife transferred me to Seattle, Washington as the Marketing Director for Washington and Alaska. In 1988, MetLife relocated me again. This time, to Century City, California, to take over as the Manager of the Century City branch. At that time, I was the youngest Branch Manager in MetLife’s history by 11 years. We grew that location into one of MetLife’s top-performing 15 branches in the nation. In addition, we were also MetLife’s largest producing Employee Benefits office in the nation.

    I made a major decision in late 1990 to start my own insurance brokerage firm. In 1991, the Pacific Group was formed in Irvine, California. Since then, I have spent the balance of my life growing the company and raising four amazing boys with my wife of 30 years, Anne.



  • Steve was born in Tacoma Washington but grew up in Eugene and Beaverton Oregon. He graduated from Beaverton High School in 1978, and attended Oregon State on a partial baseball scholarship. After his junior year, Steve was a first-round Draft pick (19th overall) by the Boston Red Socks in 1981. Steve spent 9 years in the majors and has enjoyed a successful radio and TV broadcasting career following his baseball career.

    Steve has worked for Pacific Group for four years and enjoys the challenges of his position. Steve has also conducted many motivational seminars for Pacific Group where he is always well received by our clients. Steve has been close friends with the Founder of Pacific Group since their days in High School. In Steve’s off time from work, he enjoys playing Golf, working out and spending time with his three children.

  • Nick Quaid started with Pacific Group in 2013.  Paul Gaarenstroom and Nick met while Nick was a Regional Sales Manager for California Choice, the nation’s leading Private Exchange company.   He had spent the first 13 years of his career working there, doing everything from data entry, underwriting, renewal, and sales.  While working in sales, Nick was able to learn from a variety of brokers throughout California to see what works best.  He quickly found Pacific Group was the right fit for the next stage of his career.  “Paul has been an amazing mentor for me, and while working with what seems like every broker and agency in California for years, he stood out as someone I could grow and learn from. Joining forces was the best career decision I have made.”

    Nick’s current role is Vice President of Sales. He manages the sales and renewals for all Pacific Group clients, working hand in hand with the dedicated team of account managers.  In the past 4 years, Nick has also opened an additional office in Northwest Arkansas, one of the nation’s fastest growing areas.  He is racking up the airline miles by splitting his time between both offices.

    “I truly feel we have the best team out there.  It’s nice coming to “work” every day and enjoying what you do AND the people you work with.  We are a family through and through. Alma, Cheriss, Alanna, Ashley, and Debney are truly talented and special people. I feel lucky to get to work with each of them every day.”

    When he isn’t working, he is enjoying his time with his two daughter’s Reagan and Ellie, who are becoming quite the athletes.  Both are competitive cheerleaders and Ellie also plays travel softball…so his time is filled cheering them on.  During their off time, they all love boating, snowboarding, and golf (well, Nick loves golf, the girls haven’t quite caught the bug yet.)  They are Bulldog FANATICS and have a 3-year-old English Bulldog named Winston.  He sleeps most of the time, but with their hectic schedule, that’s exactly what they need!

  • Drew Gaarenstroom commenced his career with the Pacific Group back in 2014, working part-time as an administrative assistant completing data entry and filing broker commissions. Following his graduation from St. Margaret’s in 2016, Drew decided to further his education at the University of Washington, receiving a sales degree from the Foster School of Business in 2020. Don’t think it was just books for Drew while at school, during his four years he was additionally able to acquire major internships with CDW, The Dolinka Group and The Brand Amp Marketing.

    Drew’s current role is Business Development Manager, with a focus on company size under 100 employees. Drew’s young ambitious charisma, paired with seasoned experience at the Pacific Group, is destined to unite local businesses with the premiere service they deserve.

    Paul and Drew first met back in January of 1998 at HOAG Hospital in Newport Beach during Drew’s birth – you can say they have been family ever since. In his free time, you can most often find Drew going low on the golf course (he is a 0.5 Handicap!) or ripping in some surf at the beach.

  • I have been in the health insurance business for over 20 years, specializing in employee benefits.  I have worked for a national brokerage firm as an account manager for many years and have worked on the insurance carrier side for several years which has provided me with the knowledge and experience in the industry.

    I am responsible for account management activities including establishing strategic plans, renewal marking analysis, benchmarking, customized employee communications, day-to-day support, and open enrollment.  I speak and write fluent Spanish and facilitate bilingual open enrollment meetings and Q&As.  I also support our clients in matters pertaining to benefits technology and legislative compliance.  I work closely with our clients to ensure exemplary customer service.  My strengths include communication, organization, and being pro-active.

    As far as personally, I enjoy being involved in the community, most recently handing out lunches for school age children and delivering groceries to the elderly due to COVID 19.  I have assisted in Non-Profit organizations such as Meals on Wheels of West Los Angeles, AYSO of Rancho Cucamonga and local church organizations.  I have been married for 31 years, have two adult children and two grandchildren.  I greatly enjoy spending time with the family and attending my grandchildren’s sports activities.  You will always find us, the loudest cheering squad on the bleachers!

  • Cheriss Nunez started out in the insurance industry as an administrative assistant. She quickly worked her way up the totem pole and was promoted to account manager and then Director of Client Services. While she enjoyed her work, she became pregnant with her first born and decided to take some time off to be a mama. Shortly after the birth of her second child, she joined the PG Family in 2017 as the Senior Account Manager. With almost a decade of experience, Cheriss thrives on providing the best customer service to her clients through day-to-day service. On top of servicing the day-to-day needs of her accounts, Cheriss works diligently to provide her clients with the best possible solutions to fit each individual client need.

    Each and every day, Cheriss brings enthusiasm, hard work and a lot of laughter to those around her. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to partner with. I have worked in a myriad of places and it is such a joy to come to work with people that you truly enjoy and clients who are more like family”. 

    When she isn’t working, you can find her with her husband William and their two beautiful babies, Kingston and Selah. What you may not know about her is that she can “sing her face off” and is currently writing her first album. As if her plate wasn’t full enough, Cheriss partners with “Friends of Bethany Hamilton”, a non-profit organization that hosts inspirational events and offers hope to overcome all trials, pains and difficulties of life”. Cheriss believes that LIFE is worth living to the FULLEST. 

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  • Our relationship with the law firm Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, PRK&A, ensures that we have access to a talented team of attorneys who specialize in representing employer’s interests, specifically including employee benefits and compliance. We work closely with Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, PRK&A, attorney Caitlin Anderson who practices in the areas of employee benefits and employment law. Caitlin advises employers on compliance issues relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, maintaining ERISA compliant employee benefit plans, and other employment matters, including policy development, employment agreements, and discipline and discharge issues. She represents employers throughout the litigation process and has experience defending employers against claims involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Caitlin graduated from University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2011 and “the” University of Michigan, 2008 (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy). To learn more about Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, PRK&A, visit their website at