Former State of S.C. Director of Insurance Scott H. Richardson to Open Hilton Head Office
SAVANNAH, GA – Savannah-based insurance broker Seacrest Partners, Inc. opened its first office in South Carolina today and named former Director of Insurance for the State South Carolina Scott H. Richardson as Director of the firm’s new South Carolina operations.
Formed in 2006 by seven Savannah insurance executives, Seacrest Partners provides insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting services to corporations, not-for-profit organizations and municipal entities throughout the Southeast. The privately held firm employs 53 associates in Savannah, Atlanta and now Hilton Head Island.
Seacrest president David Paddison envisions the new office in Hilton Head as the launch pad for significant growth opportunities. “South Carolina is an exciting market, particularly the Low Country region. The businesses headquartered in this area have the same risk management issues and employee benefit needs as our existing client base, so we already have the localized experience and professional resources in place to be an immediate asset to these businesses. We’re excited to have someone with Scott’s background and expertise take a leadership role in developing our South Carolina team and we intend to become a major player in the region in a relatively short time,” Paddison said.
Richardson, a high profile fixture in the South Carolina business and political communities, has more than 35 years’ experience in the insurance field, serving on both the governmental regulatory and the independent agency sides of the business.
A native of Savannah, Richardson began his insurance career in 1978 as a broker with The Carswell Agency on Hilton Head, later becoming an owner in the firm and eventually exiting when the agency was acquired by a major financial institution in 1999.
Richardson was elected to South Carolina’s House of Representatives in 1992 and to the State Senate in 2000. In 2007 Richardson was appointed by the Governor as Director of Insurance for the State of South Carolina and is credited with bringing private insurers back to the South Carolina coastal market, thereby preventing cancellations of more than 35,000 homeowner policies during the post-Katrina insurance crisis.
Richardson also gained national attention for developing a plan to expedite insurance claims after major coastal storm and hurricane catastrophes. This system was included by U.S. Senator Wicker of Mississippi in the 2012 renewal of the Federal Flood Insurance Program under FEMA.
Richardson has been a frequent speaker and panel member on many national insurance forums including Standard & Poors, A.M. Best, American Insurance Association (AIA), Competitive Enterprise Institute, Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), Heritage Foundation, Property and Casualty Insurers (PCI), and National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). He has also appeared at hearings of the U.S. Treasury on Insurance Literacy and meets frequently with Congressional Members on insurance issues.
After stepping down from the director of insurance position in 2011, Richardson began advising regional and national clients on government relations and insurance regulatory issues. He currently serves as a board member for various organizations, including the Heritage Classic Foundation, CoastalStates Bank, and Community Services Association of Sea Pines.
According to Richardson, joining Seacrest Partners is a return to his roots. “After 15 years of legislative and regulatory work helping South Carolina residents, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to the daily world of an insurance broker,” said Richardson with a smile. “I’ve known the principals at Seacrest for a number of years and their reputation for taking care of clients is without question one of the best in the industry. I look forward to joining their team and growing the business in South Carolina,” Richardson said.
Seacrest Partners expects to employ six to eight insurance professionals in its Hilton Head office within two years and to establish strategic locations throughout the state.
“Growing fast is not our objective; growing smart is,” observed Paddison. “We opened our first office with seven partners; eight years later, we have a solid team of 53 insurance professionals, virtually zero employee turnover, and a growing client base. We’ll run the same measured pace with our South Carolina growth; however, with Scott’s guidance, we’ll also look at strategic expansions throughout the state by acquiring agencies with compatible cultures and client bases,” Paddison said.
Mr. Richardson can be reached at 843-384-0999 and [email protected]. Seacrest’s new Hilton Head office is located at 7 Office Way, Suite #204, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928.
About Seacrest Partners, Inc.
Seacrest Partners is a privately held insurance brokerage and consulting firm serving a wide range of clients with complex property-casualty, employee benefit and personal insurance needs. Established in 2006, Seacrest Partners is comprised of a diverse group of professionals with backgrounds in underwriting, claims management, risk management consulting, employee benefits consulting and insurance brokerage. Operating from offices in Savannah, Atlanta and Hilton Head, Seacrest’s staff averages 20 years professional experience. For more information, visit www.seacrestpartners.com.