Justin Shelby

As of Oct. 1, Justin Shelby became Houston’s new State Farm Insurance agent.

Shelby takes the position after more than five years working for State Farm. After being employed for two years by Enterprise Rent-a-Car in St. Louis, he hooked up with State Farm in June 2006, spending six months with the auto claims department in Columbia.

He then moved to homeowner’s catastrophe claims, a mobile division based out of State Farm’s corporate office in Bloomington, Ill.

“I worked for corporate, but my territory was the U.S. and Canada,” Shelby said. “Any time anything big happened, I got a phone call and I’d be there in a day or two. We’d find an empty store building or something and it was amazing how quickly they’d get things set up and running.”

Shelby later worked for State Farm agents in Dexter and St. Louis.

“That gave me the chance to see the differences between rural and metro markets,” Shelby said. “And they are completely different; business-wise, I feel like it makes sense for me to be here, but also, I just hate traffic.”

Before coming to Houston, Shelby completed State Farm’s comprehensive, six-month educational program. The first four months involved schooling both at home and at a location in Columbia, while the last two were spent working at agents’ offices and implementing what had been learned.

“It was pretty intense,” Shelby said.

Shelby, who is single, grew up in Cape Girardeau and obtained a marketing degree from Southeast Missouri State University.

Working in the Houston State Farm office runs in the Shelby family, as Justin’s parents did just that for about four years. His father, Mitch, was the agent here before working in management in Cape Girardeau for 30 years and then retiring last June.

Growing up with State Farm being such an important part of his family’s life helped lead Shelby in the direction he has taken.

“I always kind of knew I wanted to be a State Farm agent,” he said.

One of the unique aspects of State Farm is that its agents have the ability to write out claims checks within a certain amount. Other companies always have claims representatives do the check-cutting, which can extend the wait time.

Shelby figures his experience working in claims is a bonus for he and his clients.

“When you come in as an agent and you don’t have any experience with claims, it doesn’t make much sense for you to be writing claims checks,” he said. “I think having been on that side of things is one huge advantage I’ll have.”

Shelby said his focus in his new position will be existing and potential customers with Texas County.

“I’m licensed in the state of Missouri, so I could write business anywhere in the state,” he said. “But agents kind of try to stay out of each other’s back yard, so I’ll be mainly working within the county.

Shelby’s future plans include staying put for a long, long time.

“State Farm is a great company, and to be able to be here in a community like this with an opportunity like this – I don’t think there’s a better opportunity out there,” he said.

Shelby can be reached by phone at 417-967-4152. His emailaddress is justin.shelby.uuce@statefarm.com.

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