God knows that I feel like I am just hitting my stride and building the type of law firm I have dreamed of for a long time. Yet, my friend and age contemporary, Ray Altieri, is having a retirement party today. Ray certainly deserves to enjoy whatever dreams he has for his journey. I feel fortunate to have been a small footnote to his success.
Eleven years ago, I wrote a post, Ray Altieri Becomes President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters:
Time flies. It seems like yesterday when Ray Altieri excitedly met me outside the entrance to the December 1992 National Association of Public Adjusters Mid-Year Meeting. Ray is Italian and very passionate about things that matter to him–usually his family, work and the New York Yankees.
That morning, he was worried and upset. He asked if I could do something to help public adjusting in Florida, where a representative from Florida’s Department of Insurance indicated that public adjusting may be banned.
Ray ushered me into a meeting with a number of NAPIA’s Board of Directors. Apparently, a few non-member public adjusters, primarily from New York, had been arrested and were accused of staging additional damage to property damaged by Hurricane Andrew. This activity was wrong and criminal. It was done by a few bad apples, and we all know how that lyric plays out.
Following the meeting, I called a number of public adjusters who resided in Florida. We needed to organize. While there are hundreds of public adjusters in Florida today, the list of Florida resident public adjusters in late 1992 could not have been more than a hundred.
Doug Grose called and asked if he could help form the organization. With approval from Ray Altieri and Steve Lesser, we selected the name. Using NAPIA as a base, we named the organization the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA). Doug Grose filed the corporate papers. A graphic artist in my firm, Carol Bowels, designed the logo used at the first meeting in Orlando, 1993.
I felt that FAPIA needed passionate and honest leadership. From dealings with Ray and those with Adjusters International, I knew Ray Altieri was honest, sincere and wanted to make public adjusting a life’s work that would make his wife and children proud. He was the obvious choice for FAPIA’s first President.
Why does time seem to fly faster as we get older?
His firm website humbly says this about Ray:
Ray moved to Florida in 1986 with his wife and two sons, as a property insurance adjuster with The Hartford Insurance Company. By January 1, 1988, Ray opened for business as a Florida Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster. Competing with several other public adjusting firms at the time who were established years ahead of his arrival, Ray built his business one claim at a time, employing naturally learned skills from his blue-collar parents: work hard, protect your reputation, and be true to your word.
During his career, Mr. Altieri became President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), from June 2011 to June 2012. He is the only Public Adjuster from Florida to ever serve in that capacity. NAPIA elected Mr. Altieri to the ‘Officer’s Ladder’ in 2004, where he has held every Office during his rise to the Presidency. Ray has also served on NAPIA’s Board of Directors since 1991. NAPIA was founded in 1951 and remains the preeminent industry organization for public adjusters today. Mr. Altieri has earned the respected designation of Certified Professional Public Adjuster (CPPA) from NAPIA and in December 2017, was honored by NAPIA as their ‘Person of the Year.’
In early 1993, after Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, the insurance industry and Florida Legislature were moving to eliminate public adjuster licenses in Florida. To combat that effort, Florida’s public adjusters formed a new organization and voted Mr. Altieri as the founding President of the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA). Ray led a contingent of public adjuster colleagues, attorneys, and lobbyists to Tallahassee to craft legislative oversight designed to reign in unseemly conduct and preserve public adjuster licensing. His leadership in the Association continued for the next 25+ years and has been instrumental in the organization’s success where he was honored by FAPIA in 2006 with its Distinguished Service Award. In 2002, Mr. Altieri was asked by FAPIA to serve as President for a second term. Ray has served on FAPIA’s Board of Directors since its inception in 1993.
Today, there seem to be many public adjusters who promote themselves on social media—but do they really have the respect of their colleagues and the insurance industry? Ray has always tried to represent himself and his profession, so everybody benefited from his work. He has set an example as a public adjuster. I also know Ray personally, and he sets a great example of being a father and husband. His family is lucky, and Ray has built luck from his family.
David Moore was his partner for a number of years. David had this to say about Ray:
From our days that we started organizing FAPIA with Chip Merlin and working together at Adjusters International, and then at our partner days at Altieri-Moore in the nineties, we laughed together and we’ve cried together over business, kids, and medical issues of mine. To this day, I don’t know of a finer person, adjuster, Father, Husband, friend or mentor than Ray Altieri. Much deserving of retirement .
In a day and age where former partners say nothing nice about the relationships they had, David Moore’s comments are striking about Ray. All of us should work to have those types of relationships that Ray has built over the years.
Others may stop me and take me away to the hereinafter while I am passionately advocating for a policyholder in court or in a speech, but I cannot imagine going out in a planned retirement.
Retirement from one’s work is a time for reflection. All of us should reflect on the journey we want to have and the life we want. This life we are living together is not a dress rehearsal.
For those of you who know me well, you know I love competition and being the winner, my sailboat racing, and then listening to Zep as my diversion. While we contemplate the retirement of a leader and one to follow as an example in so many ways, I leave you with these Led Zeppelin lyrics:
Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed
Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails
Cross the sea of years
With no provision but an open face
Along the straits of fear
Oh, when I want, when I’m on my way,
And my feet wear my fickle way to stay
Ray—cheers! You are an inspiration.
Thought For The Day
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Song of The Day