By Scott Campbell; Photograph by Ali Waxman
Very few of us knew what our life’s work would be when we were 6 years old. Paul Feldman was one of those very few.
“When I was asked that question in first grade, I said that I wanted to be an insurance agent,” says the 40-year-old, New Jersey native. After all, it was in his blood. “My father and my grandfather were in the business,” he says, “and, while my path in the industry is a little different, I’m still an agent at heart.”
Feldman’s journey brought him from working in his small family practice to developing a dominant force nationally in insurance news.
He is CEO and publisher of InsuranceNewsNet magazine and insurancenewsnet.com, the No. 1 ranked insurance news website on Google. He and his staff of 17 work in a suite of modest offices in Camp Hill. But the enterprise is anything but modest.
There are 50,000 subscribers to the magazine, 600,000 online subscribers and another 250,000 connect through email. In 2012, Feldman was nominated for min’s “Marketer of the Year,” a competition that includes all magazines. He finished second to Hearst Digital.
This recognition did not simply fall into Feldman’s lap. Years of hard work and foresight laid the foundation for his current success.
“I watched the Internet take off in the ’90s,” he says, “and developed a website home page at a time when few companies had them. After that, I began to publish a magazine, while still maintaining the digital. That is generally the opposite of most companies.”
Feldman believes that there is value in printed media, even in the age of technology. In the last two years, InsuranceNewsNet magazine has garnered 21 editorial design awards.
“Print has staying power and is easily available for people to access anywhere,” he says. “The average age for insurance agents is 56, so they are extremely comfortable with magazines.”
What is the objective of InsuranceNewsNet?
“It’s not complicated,” says Feldman. “We want to make readers and advertisers more successful, developing opportunities for them. We want to keep our subscribers current on changes in regulations. The insurance industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the nation. And, we want to be an invaluable resource, without which our readers cannot succeed.”
The path to Feldman’s present circumstances was not particularly smooth.
“After I left Monmouth University, I started to work for my dad, stuffing envelopes and handling service calls,” he says. “I helped to take his company national, designing trade journals, writing newsletters, copy and doing direct mail. Our family moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I left the company in 1999. That same year, I secured a loan from my father-in-law to start InsuranceNewsNet.”
The events of September 11, 2001 hit his business hard, and a slow recovery followed thereafter.
“The following year, the company was bought by a mergers and acquisitions firm in Harrisburg,” says Feldman. “After a year or so, I had the opportunity to buy them out. That’s how I ended up in the area, and have been growing every year since.”
Feldman lives in Camp Hill with his wife and two children. He says that the success he has enjoyed has a lot to do with the capital region.
“It’s been a wonderful place for my family and my business. There is a great pocket of talent here that has really helped me take the company to a higher level.”