In celebration of Rowland (Rowe) Blount joining our team in San Antonio, read his interview with Jay Judas of Life Insurance Strategies Group.
JAY: When I learned you were joining my friends at C3 Financial Partners, Rowe, I asked Todd, Carolyn, and Celeste if I could help introduce you to C3’s community of clients and their advisors. Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me today and allowing me and our readers to get to know you. Let’s start with an obvious question – why did you join C3 Financial Partners?
ROWE: C3 Financial Partners has a unique business model that provides impressive back-office resources to support both my work with clients as well as the infrastructure to deliver those clients accurate and timely service. I would like to be able to claim I was an expert at every stage of the life insurance process but, truthfully, no one is.
Every step of the placement and service of a policy takes an experienced skill set. C3 Financial Partners has a team that supports me with industry-leading underwriting capabilities, carrier intelligence, and policy service resources – to name just a few tools.
If I were to sum that all up, I would say that by joining C3 Financial Partners, I gain confidence and recognition from the firm’s established reputation and business processes.
JAY: I understand that your relationship with Todd Healy, the founder at C3 Financial Partners, is not a new one and you have a family connection. Is that correct?
ROWE: Yes, that’s right. Todd has been handling my parents’ insurance affairs for twenty years. My parents like him a lot and could not have been happier when I mentioned my plans to join Todd and the rest of the team. Coincidentally, several of my fraternity brothers obtained their real estate licenses and went to work for Todd’s son, Rogers, so there is more than one connection to the Healy Family.
My father recently purchased additional life insurance due to a business venture that he started. Todd helped him determine the coverage he would need, as well as how the policy should fit into the rest of my dad’s financial plan.
JAY: You are a native Texan. Where did you grow up and go to school?
ROWE: I was born in San Antonio and can claim to be a first-generation San Antonian. My parents met at the University of Texas and moved here in 1987 when my father started at St. Mary’s School of Law. My mother had previously lived in San Antonio when she went to boarding school and looked forward to moving back.
I am a member of the Class of 2007 from Alamo Heights High School and was the Senior Class President. After graduating from Alamo Heights, I headed to SMU and graduated with a double major in Finance and Spanish. I almost had a third major in Cinema-Television, a course of study that has since been renamed to include film beyond traditional movies and broadcast television. After spending a few years in Dallas, I returned to my true love of San Antonio.
JAY: I hear that you played competitive water polo at Alamo Heights High School. Were you surprised to learn that you are not alone at C3 Financial Partners in having been a water polo player and that you and Todd were both goalies?
ROWE: It was certainly a humorous coincidence to learn Todd was an All-American water polo player in college at Berkeley. My water polo career wasn’t born out of any athleticism; rather, as a last resort. In high school, I had a growth spurt to 6’2” and was lanky and clumsy. Basketball wasn’t a fit and soccer meant that I had to run so that was off the list. Swimming was something that I enjoy but didn’t particularly excel at either. Treading water in one place as a goalie on the water polo team ended up being a good fit for me.
JAY: Is there any chance you and Todd will be forming a master’s water polo team in the near future?
ROWE: Absolutely none!
JAY: What career path did you take that led you to join a firm like C3 Financial Partners that works in the affluent segment of the life insurance market?
ROWE: Like a lot of young Texans, after graduating college, I went into the Oil & Gas Industry. My first position was in a supply chain role managing a trucking fleet. From there, I became a commercial storage specialist, which is a bit like self-storage but for businesses.
My entrepreneurial spirit kicked into gear, and I left to start my own company. Then, as happens from time-to-time, the Oil & Gas Industry tanked a week before I was going to go into debt buying my own equipment! I was lucky I didn’t have that debt, but I still didn’t have a job.
Fortunately, I’m pretty handy and did some general contracting work, including on the condo my wife, Sage, and I had just purchased. Eventually, I accepted a position with a private jet provider selling jet cards, which is really selling the use of someone’s private jet to others when the owner isn’t using it. In this role, I had exposure to high-net-worth clients and gained the confidence to discuss large financial transactions – not too different from the types of conversations I will have with my work with C3 Financial Partners.
My aviation job led to a position in pharmacy claims adjudication. It was then that I obtained my life and health insurance license and found myself attracted to how life insurance helps solve so many different challenges. The life insurance distribution firm, World Financial Group, reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to start my life insurance career. After growing with WFG for a year, I knew I needed more support as my clients became more sophisticated. This, of course, led me to C3 Financial Partners.
JAY: San Antonio has many multi-generational families. What have you seen and learned by being part of one of these families?
ROWE: One reason I am proud to live in San Antonio is that, like many other families, my family genuinely cares about the betterment of the community that we have been a part of for so long. It is a joy to work with clients who share in wanting to invest in San Antonio’s future.
San Antonio prides itself on the preservation of its heritage and culture. Many families in my area are direct descendants of people that fought in The Battle of the Alamo. Because there is an extreme appreciation for ancestral roots, San Antonians strive to maintain financial success for their descendants in the generations to come.
This means investing wisely in what will last and planning accordingly for the unknown. Life insurance is an immensely important component in this planning. By being fiscally cognizant, the people of this great city know that San Antonio, and its future residents, will continue to prosper long after we are gone.
You asked me what I have learned. Perhaps the most important rule of thumb is, in San Antonio, never speak ill of anyone – ever. If you do, chances are that you’re speaking to that person’s cousin!
JAY: As an English and Spanish speaker, how has being bilingual contributed to your ability to connect with clients and their advisors when working on complex life insurance transactions?
ROWE: Discussions around life insurance usually take place when someone is engaged in financial planning or estate work, or when a business is drawing up a strategy to address some liabilities like continuity or key person planning. These can be stressful times, so being able to communicate with a client in a way they feel most comfortable is vital. The fact is that, in Texas, a lot of people speak English, but a lot also speak Spanish; and most of them will have a need for life insurance at some point.
JAY: You graduated from SMU’s Cox School of Business where you were a Hunt Leadership Scholar Finalist. How did this prepare you for this career?
ROWE: It was a privilege to attend Cox, and the education I received there has helped me to better understand the complexities inherent in multi-generational wealth planning. Also, it provided me with the ability to grasp how family-run business interests fit into the individual financial plans of all the family members involved. Without a doubt, I know I am in a better position to be effective with my work at C3 Financial Partners because of the curriculum at Cox.
JAY: What do you hope to accomplish with your clients?
ROWE: Earlier, I mentioned how my dad recently increased his life insurance protection because of a business matter. Knowing this life insurance is in place helps him deal with the uncertainty around the impact on my mother and the rest of the family should something happen to him before his business venture is completed. I believe the same thinking applies to a lot of folks.
Life insurance helps to solve for unmanaged risks, such as the need for family protection, to resolve business debts, or to mitigate future transfer taxes that may erode wealth. By showing my clients how life insurance can be a solution to their personal and business risks, they will be able to live their lives more freely with less fear of the unknown.
My clients, for the most part, will be my friends – if not before working with me, hopefully, once we start working together. I want them taken care of and life insurance may help.
JAY: You clearly enjoy your work but are very active outside of it. Tell me about your family and what you enjoy doing when you are not structuring insurance solutions for others.
ROWE: Sage and I have two adorable little girls. Finch is 4 and full of energy. When she isn’t questioning everything, she is enjoying her ‘princess’ phase. Her younger sister, Cordelia, is 18 months old and quickly developing a big personality. Sage is a travel agent with Glass Slipper Concierge and loves her job. A big part of her work is helping families put together a plan for how to best enjoy their visit to Disney World.
Once the kids are in bed, Sage and I are big consumers of movies and television. We enjoyed Breaking Bad and just finished Better Call Saul. As a family, we like to head to the gulf coast and the beach when we get a chance, and otherwise like traveling outside the state when we can.
Personally, I am a part of two social organizations that help plan and carry out several events to benefit the community.