Delta native says brand of nation’s largest insurer and father’s legacy made decision easy
An open position in a Yazoo City State Farm office and the desire for a more stable career led agent Andy Daniels to follow in his father’s footsteps.
After working for nearly a decade at various sales marketing positions and moving eight times in nine years, Daniels and his family decided it was time for a change.
After graduation from Cleveland High School in 1984, Daniels attended Mississippi College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. He also met his future wife, the former Karen Virden, at Mississippi College.
After college, Daniels continued a job with Sherwin Williams and worked as assistant store manager and store manager in Harrisonburg, Va., and Grenada.
In 1989, he began tenure with Entergy, working in product sales, market research and planning in Jackson, Cleveland and Vicksburg.
After multiple moves, Daniels and his family were looking for change and found it when he learned of a State Farm opening in Yazoo City.
His father owned a State Farm agency in Cleveland for 27 years and alerted his son to the job opening.
He got the job in 1994 and — after a final move to Indianola a year later — has lived in the same town for 15 years.
“The draw for State Farm was its stability,” he said. “Because of my dad’s agency, I grew up with State Farm. I knew State Farm.”
“I had watched my dad do it successfully for as long as he did,” he said. “State Farm is the largest automobile and homeowner insurance company in Mississippi and the United States, which was a draw. I knew it had that brand recognition and market support, which was important and still is.”
Despite a familiarity with the industry, Daniels has still faced challenges within his career.
“Competition is fierce,” he said. “I have done this 16 years [this month], and competition is as tough as it ever has been.”
Another challenge has been the state’s post-Hurricane Katrina legal environment, which has brought upon tighter eligibility guidelines.
But a huge bonus for Daniels is the opportunity to work for himself.
“Working for yourself, you are only limited by the time and effort you’re willing to put into it yourself,” he said. “I have the market, technical and sales support of the largest insurance company in the U.S.
“I can run my agency the way I believe it needs to be run for the Delta and still have the same support that the largest agency in Atlanta has.”
In addition to offering home, life, auto and health insurance, Daniels said his office can be beneficial to clients interested in financial planning.
State Farm began offering mutual funds and State Farm banking services in the early 2000s.
“Being able to sit down and help people with their education or retirement goals is very rewarding, too,” he said. “We offer a full range of products, and customers can take care of everything at one location, which is good.”
And with two daughters in high school, the draw of a more stable life in one city has held its promise for the Daniels family.
“Indianola is the people. That’s what’s great about Indianola. Everybody knows each other and takes care of each other…” he said. “The Delta stays pretty steady, and business is good.”
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