President and Insurance Advisor
Looking back at my career in insurance isn’t something I do a lot. When I do, I am reminded of how it all started, and that family is at the heart of it.
At 22, I was working my first big job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. I was a Philly boy in South Florida, a recent graduate of the University of Miami. Job-wise, I was uncommonly successful.
But I missed my hometown. I missed the faster pace of work. I missed… my mom. So, I did what any wise young person at the start of a flourishing career would do. I left it. I moved home.
Not surprisingly, the appeal of that decision didn’t last forever. My single mother, a business owner who was fiercely independent, bordering on stubborn, wasn’t one to let me sit around and read the paper all day. But that was just what I was doing when I came across a profile of Philadelphia business legend Sidney Friedman.
Friedman’s story was amazing: A kid who came from nothing in Brooklyn, who developed this incredible insurance practice. I was taken by Sid’s career, his hustle, his charisma, and his astounding success. I asked my mom about him. She told me I should call him. (She also strongly suggested I ask him about securing myself some health insurance.)
With nothing to lose, I called the number in the article. Unbelievably, Sid answered the phone—and told me to come into his office, Corporate Financial Services, in Center City Philly.
Sid proved to be every bit the real thing. He welcomed me in, sat me down, and told me, a virtual stranger, about his work advising clients, closely held companies, family businesses, on how to protect the assets they’d spent lifetimes building. He explained the philosophy of life insurance.
Life insurance, he said, was about providing for the people you love the most when you no longer can. It’s about making sure they can stay in the home you shared, continue with their educations—afford to take care of themselves the way you took care of them. This, Sid explained, was the reason he insisted on working so hard for his clients. They trusted him, and he took that trust to heart, made it his life’s passion. When he asked me to work for him, I agreed right then and there. Little did I know how close we would become.
Where Sid went, I went: office meetings, family meetings, board meetings, memorial services. Sid taught me the business from the top down. He wasn’t just my boss. He was my mentor, in every sense of the word.
Sid and I met at a high point in his career but a low point in his health. As his physical condition worsened, I stuck by his side as he worked through the pain and exhaustion. It was a hard time. Sid didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to let him go. When the physical world took him, I felt lost. The only thing I knew to do was to stick around, to try to carry on his professional legacy, to take care of the clients he couldn’t anymore. But I soon realized the company wasn’t Sid’s anymore, and my place in it had changed. I couldn’t stay.
Not for the first time, I realized I’d learned the business backwards. If I wanted to remain in the industry—and I did—I’d need to become part of a larger, more traditional firm. So, I started over again. I joined Karr Barth Associates. This time, I worked from the bottom up, and built a book of clients, mostly physicians.
During this time, I also got married and had a son. My wife, Lauren, and I were living the dream, raising our little guy in the city where I grew up, the place we loved most. Life was spectacular.
Then, Lauren noticed that my mom was becoming oddly forgetful. Everyday stuff, little things, suddenly frustrated her. We went to the doctor, who diagnosed my then 59-year-old mother with early-onset Alzheimer’s. We were devastated, shocked, and gut punched. The woman who raised me, who’d always taken care of me, whom I’d come home to—my strongest person—now needed to be taken care of.
The silver lining, if you could call it that, was my insurance experience. I had already made sure my mom had a policy that would protect her in years to come. I’d spent years in the industry, but it wasn’t until I could help my mom that I fully comprehended just how essential insurance is. It allowed my mom—my fierce mom—to receive the best possible care, in exactly the way she needed and deserved it.
My mom’s illness also made me step back and reevaluate my career. Insurance advising no longer felt like enough. How could I do more? How could I help more people?
Meeting Stephanie Pearson led me to my answer. Stephanie, like so many of my clients, was a physician. Although she wasn’t my client, she was a friend of a friend, clearly devoted to her family, fully committed to her career, and she deserved to be on claim. So, I helped her.
As I worked with Stephanie to secure her claim, I couldn’t help but notice she was doing a lot of helping herself. Unlike anyone I’d ever worked with before, Steph became obsessed with understanding the ins-and-outs of her policy—and the policies of her friends and colleagues, who naturally went to her with questions. Without skipping a beat, she’d begun advocating on behalf of other doctors, encouraging them to learn about their coverage, to protect themselves. I knew she’d be a natural insurance advisor. And she was. She is.
So, there we were: Me, an insurance professional looking for a more fulfilling practice, and Steph, a physician, seeking for a new direction for her intellect and irrepressible drive to advocate for others. We started working together, and things just seemed right.
Today, I’m proud to be Stephanie’s official business partner, full-time, all the time. Serving the medical community and looking out for their families is our pleasure and our privilege. Family remains at the heart of what we do—her family, my family and yours.Schedule a consultation with Scott