When a prospective new client asks local State Farm Agent LeAnna Ricci Farris about insurance, she sets aside all the tri-fold brochures and multipurpose prospectuses with tiny type in order to find out enough about the person to offer the right insurance at an adequate level of coverage.
“I want to get to know a client,” Farris says. “I want to know not only what they have, but also what they have to lose.”
If a prospective client presses her to review an existing policy issued by a competing firm, Farris will still set the policy aside to be reviewed after she and the client have chatted.
Her commitment to conscientious client service grew from her own family life.
Her father is a State Farm agent and Farris has always wanted to become an agent just like him.
A graduate of El Modena High School in Orange (go, Vanguards!), Farris earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in home economics from Chico State University.
Her first job out of college was at Nordstrom’s, where she learned from a top retailer fabled for superb customer service.
But she wanted to be a State Farm agent. When a slot opened in auto claims at State Farm, she jumped ship.
“Most people suffer a car accident of some kind before a loss related to their home,” Farris explains. “Working in auto claims served me well.”
She worked in State Farm auto claims for fifteen years.
But she still wanted to become an agent.
She shadowed an established agent for three months, then applied to become an approved candidate.
She had to develop a business plan because State Farm agents are actually independent small business people who contract to represent State Farm. (New agents have to renew that contract each year.)
She had to survive a panel interview before being allowed to begin a nine-month internship that included classroom study, self-study and six months of field development in an established agent’s office.
At the same time as that internship, she had to find a location for her own insurance office and recruit team members to fill the roles described in her business plan.
Did she still want to be a State Farm agent?
Farris opened her Los Alamitos office at 5212 Katella Avenue, suite 102, on October 1, 2009.
Happy two-year anniversary, LeAnna!
Her team members are Jennifer Dodson, customer service manager; Cain Sanchez and Dan Howard, both insurance account representatives; and Derek Miller, new lead development.
Now that she has become what she dreamed about for so long, is being a State Farm agent as good as she hoped?
“I loved working auto claims,” Farris says. “But being an agent is event better!”
As an agent, she works hard to improve her clients’ understanding of insurance.
“There are a lot of misperceptions,” Farris says. “One of the most common errors is to under-insure in a misguided attempt to save money. I want all my clients amply covered so they will never be painfully surprised to discover how much they have to lose.”
Farris is a parishioner at St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church in Los Alamitos. Her six-year-old daughter Addison attends the parish school. She is a member of the Rossmoor Woman’s Club and serves on the board of directors of the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce.
She has been a silver sponsor of Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo since 2009. This year, she plans to raffle off a beach cruiser bike at the event.
“I love Wings, Wheels, Rotors and Expo,” Farris explains. “I love talking with people who come to our booth.”
For more information, call 562-596-3276 to talk with LeAnna or one of her team members. You may also visit www.LeAnnaFarris.com online.
State Farm Agent LeAnna Ricci Farris in her office at 5212 Katella Avenue, suite 102.
Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.
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