Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And like a good neighbor...

The fastest route to a destination is a straight path. Whether I’m diving out of a plane from 12,500 feet or facing a 145 foot long mud pit before the finish line, that option holds true. However, pulling the chute at 7,000 feet I was able to observe a 360 degree view of the surroundings I generally do not see. Perhaps, if I didn’t crouch down and waded through the cold mud I would not have corrected the knee problem I developed mid-way in the race. As they say “It’s the journey, not the destination.”

When I lived on the East Coast my home and car insurance policies were with State Farm Insurance. When I bought my engagement ring, through my MULTIPLE attempts at proposing at the right moment (and chickening out) I was happy to know that the ring was insured by State Farm. After our wedding we moved to Orange County and one of the first things we did as a couple was to visit our local State Farm Agent, the late Jonathame Wang, and his son Steven Wang. After completing our initial evaluation and writing of policies, we continued to develop our relationship through additional policies as we entered various life stages. I would even stop by just to hang out with the staff at the office and catch up with everyone.

It was sad news when Jonathame passed away in 2008. However the calm came from knowing he lived up to what he advised my family and many others, that life insurance is for those we leave behind. Steven continued in advising my family and as we hit another life stage, we added an additional policy this summer.

As part of a reorganization within State Farm, my family’s policies were somehow transferred to a new agent. We were surprised with this development and we worked on having our policies serviced back to Steven and his office. Our requests were met with some resistance, and for a brief moment we felt our relationship over the years was falling apart. Over the course of three weeks we eventually received a post card from our “new” agent confirming the fate of our long-established relationship with Steven, and with State Farm for that matter.

As with any journey we expect some bumps on the road and we could’ve taken the “easy road" and switched all of our policies with another insurer. That decision would have been swift and without much emotion. However it would also feel like instead of floating around in my parachute, I was essentially cutting off my harness. That journey would come to an end quickly.

As people use social media for various purposes, I’m friends with @StateFarm on Twitter. I made a general comment about my situation, within 140 characters of course! I received a Direct Message from a Public Affairs professional at State Farm’s Corporate HQ that the appropriate individuals would hear my concerns. This person added, “Let me know how it turns out…I’m happy to help.” Within a few days my family received notices in the mail that all of our policies were back to being serviced by Steven Wang and his office. Various comments, pros and cons, toward social media exist and people forget that it’s not a “thing,” but rather a community. I’m going to sound like a commercial for State Farm … BUT … through the Twitter account @StateFarm “…and like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Thank you, @StateFarm! You demonstrated well your commitment not only to the social media community, but also to the community of policy holders who value relationships fostered over the years.

Our journey continues with State Farm, and I’m certain various life stages will occur, prompting updates to our policies. This chapter had its bumps, but that experience made this portion of the journey a memorable one. Most see me as the mud running, skydiving, mountain biking, fitness training, Oakley loyalist, who loves to BBQ and support local Orange County restaurants and businesses. I also want to point out that I’m a CPA, an Investment Advisor … and I’m licensed to write insurance policies as well. I have colleagues who would gladly reciprocate these professional services back to me and my family. Nevertheless my family and I choose to stay with State Farm because of Steven and his staff. We were fortunate to have met Jonathame and Steven when we first settled in Orange County over a decade ago. We’ve found that our relationship with their legacy will continue through many life stages in the years to come!

As with any journey it’s easy to take the quick way out. However memories built on relationship and time? Those live on well past that mile marker in the mud!


I am not being compensated to write this plug: I just want to provide Steven Wang’s contact information for those who want to just even meet Steven and his team. You’ll find Steven exudes the relationship-building that is important in addressing personal and confidential needs.

Steven Wang
State Farm Insurance
15333 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 552-3600