Lesser & Company have been pioneers and leaders in Florida public adjusting since 1944. It is Florida’s oldest public adjusting firm. I was stunned to learn from Mark Boardman that Steve Lesser passed yesterday morning. I felt a lump in my throat and wished that this horrible news was simply not true. Steve is my age. It is hard to accept that my friends and I are getting so much older that the things that cause older people to die are happening to us. My visual memories of him are always with a sly and happy smile, knowing he had a significant, quiet thought that he might only share if asked for. He was wise and thoughtful. True to the private person he was, his illness was kept secret except to a few.
As publicly stated in the history of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters web page, Steve Lesser protected his profession and was an instrumental leader:
The inaugural meeting took place in February 1993 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando. At dinner the night before the meeting, Chip Merlin and Doug Grose, as our legal advisors, proposed a slate of Officers, which was to be voted on the next day by the public adjusters who were in attendance. Raymond A. Altieri, Jr. of Tampa was nominated as the organization’s first President, Steven Lesser of Miami Beach as President –Elect, Stephen Sarasohn of Boca Raton as Vice President, Chuck Howarth of Tampa as Treasurer, and Allan Brodsky of Hollywood as Secretary. The Directors were James Toukatly of Orlando, Craig Tanner of Clearwater, Ron Livingstone of Orlando, and Ira Sarasohn of Boca Raton.
All current Florida public adjusters owe a debt and gratitude for his leadership and work.
I spoke with Ray Altieri last night about our loss. We remarked that it is hard to fathom that there is no more Mel Lesser, Norman Lesser or Steve Lesser at Lesser & Company. The Lessers have so many iconic public adjuster war stories. Maybe because Mel and Norman were so outlandish in some of their actions, Steve became more serious and quietly led.
I wrote about Steve Lesser in a post when Ray Altieri became NAPIA’s President:
Steve Lesser and his family were paramount pioneers of public adjusting in Florida. There were other public adjusters considered as FAPIA’s First Vice President, especially Dick Tutwiler, who had integrity and character. But, because Ray Altieri and Steve Lesser were such good friends and Steve was from Miami, most felt Steve Lesser should take that position.
Last Friday night, Doug Grose, Steve Lesser and I were at NAPIA’s installation banquet. We were overjoyed as Ray Altieri was inducted into office as President.
Ray Altieri is passionately proud of what he does and bitterly hates anything that tarnishes the reputation of public adjusting. In his world, the pride of a job done to the best of an adjuster’s talent is what matters. He loves stories of public adjusters helping policyholders. His purpose is to serve policyholders, not to make as much money as possible. He loathes those who adjust unscrupulously, and his sharp Italian tongue lets others know exactly where they stand.
NAPIA has selected a leader it can be proud of. Role models are important in all professions. Like Dick Tutwiler and Steve Lesser, Ray Altieri is a role model for public adjusters throughout the country…
Steve Lesser was certainly a role model for public adjusters. Lesser & Company has been and will continue to be leaders in public adjusting. Especially for my dear friends, Randy Paul, and Wally Milian, who worked with Steve, this passing makes us take pause and think about life. I would suggest that Steve Lesser’s work character of humbleness, carrying oneself as a gentleman, and thoughts for helping others first is a great start for all of us to aspire.
Thought For The Day
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.