In 1904, in search of a better life, David Schiff emigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. In Europe, he was a scholar, preparing for a degree in pharmacy. In 1907, needing income to support his family, he started a new career selling insurance.
Little did he know that what he started over 100 years ago would continue and flourish over a century later.
David and Rachel Schiff
Morris and Florence’s eldest son, Marvin Strauss, joined the family business immediately following his graduation from Cornell in 1965 (BME, MBA). Marvin later earned his Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations. In 1977, the firm was renamed “The Strauss Agency, Inc”.
For the next thirty years, David continued working diligently in the insurance business and building a life with his wife Rachel, whom he married in 1910. Together they raised a family of four children, three daughters and one son. The middle daughter was Florence. In 1939, Morris Strauss married Florence Schiff and entered the insurance business with his father-in-law. The firm became known as “Schiff & Strauss”.
Morris became well known in the New York insurance community and was respected for his knowledge and integrity. Florence worked with her husband, and was also well respected and recognized for her vibrant personality. Together they raised a family of three children, two sons and a daughter, all of whom graduated from Cornell University.
Morris and Florence Strauss
Under Marvin’s leadership, The Strauss Agency, Inc. has become one of the most respected independent life insurance general agencies in New York. The agency has regularly placed among the top national producers for several different life insurance carriers.
Marvin’s wife, Sheila, joined the firm gradually as their two daughters, Robin and Debra, were growing up. Also a Cornellian, she and Marvin were college sweethearts. Sheila earned her CLU designation in 1982. Together, Marvin and Sheila still continue to work at and operate the agency.
The fourth generation is represented by three people. Robin Rashbaum graduated from Cornell in 1989, and soon thereafter joined the agency. Robin earned her CLU designation in 1992. She also raises two boys. Debra Zik graduated from Harvard College in 1993 and received her MBA from Columbia in 1997. Mathew Zik, Debra’s husband, joined the agency in 2005 after working as an attorney for two prestigious law firms. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1996 and earned his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1999. Matthew and Debra have one son and one daughter.
The fifth generation’s story is still being written.