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Though some changes are being made at the local level for State Farm, its new yet familiar agent wants to ensure that the company continually cares for its customers.
Richard Fergeson has taken over the State Farm establishment located on Broadway, but has been with the company since November 2009. He worked under local former State Farm agent Mike Reed until May 2011, when he began a nine month internship in Austin to make the transition into his new role beginning on March 1, 2012.
He's no stranger to the community, having been raised in Sweetwater and graduating from Sweetwater High School in 2002. Fergeson is also a 2007 graduate of Angelo State University and while attending college met his wife, Kaitlin. The couple just welcomed their first child, their daughter Macy Jane, on Feb. 14.
Along with the business changes and addition to his family, Fergeson is involved in various ways within the community. He is a member of the Lions Club and Kiwanis International (he serves on the Board of Directors for the latter) and is also the president of the Young Leaders of Sweetwater. This year will also be his second year to serve on the Relay for Life committee.
Additionally, Fergeson is heavily involved as a member of First Baptist Church in Sweetwater. He teaches a Sunday school class for high school boys and takes part in the Kid-X bus ministry that outreaches to children from the government housing area through Bible study. He says that he has enjoyed seeing the kids who started in Kid-X now regularly attend church and make the transition into the youth department, which was one of the goals of the children's program.
However, Fergeson's three years with State Farm as a fully licensed insurance and mortgage agent--along with prior work experience in insurance after graduating college--have helped prepare him for this next step.
"State Farm insurance agents are about more than sales, they're risk managers," stated Fergeson, in that they explain the risks taken by the client while also offering solutions. From auto, fire, life and health insurance, the company also offers a full-service bank and also specializes in investments and retirement plans.
Thus, a client can be completely covered and protected by State Farm, which is the only company that offers a live agent along with a bank. They also provide 24-7 availability, as their Texas-based customer service from El Paso will give live, personal assistance or, in emergency situations, direct them to their local agent.
In addition, State Farm has been ranked #1 for auto and fire insurance based on customer reviews and was listed as the top ranked insurance company by Fortune 100.
Fergeson strives to represent the "strong financial company" well and understands that times and methods are changing. His goal is for clients--who are evolving toward self-sufficiency--to have and utilize the different methods for contacting him, whether it is through Facebook, e-mail, text message, or by phone.
Furthermore, State Farm now offers free mobile apps available through the iPhone and Android market for further interaction. Other State Farm apps include Steer Clear, and a particular app called Driver Feedback scores clients on their driving, which Fergeson says can help young drivers.
Throughout the transition, State Farm customers are receiving correspondence from the company which explains the changes and informs them about their new agent. However, the local branch, located at 808 East Broadway, is offering a chance for people to meet Fergeson and see the changes firsthand through a Grand Opening scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2012.
A ribbon cutting will take place at 10:45 a.m. with the Chamber of Commerce, and the local radio station KXOX will be on site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The open house is an event for the whole family, as hot dogs and hamburgers will be available and kids can meet the State Farm mascot "Good Neigh-bear".
Current and potential clients can also take a peek inside the building, which has been remodeled with new floors, carpet and paint. A new amenity at the office is a waiting area that includes a coffee bar to welcome clients upon their arrival.
Fergeson is excited about all the changes and hopes the local State Farm can continue to be there "like a good neighbor" (as the hilarious commercials say). But just as the new slogan promotes, his goal is for customers to thrive so they can "get to a better State."
"An insurance company," Fergeson noted, "is only as good as its agent."