By Laurie Stone
Editor’s Note: The News-Tribune is doing a weekly profile on local business owners who have been at that respective business for at least the last five years.
David Bonner has been helping people protect themselves against loss for the past 17 years, but has always credited his family for his gains.
Bonner moved from Portales to Farmington to be an adjuster for State Farm and the longer he filled this position, the more he wanted to own his own business.
Soon after, State Farm offered Bonner an opportunity to own his own business by being an agent for them.
As a child, Bonner wanted to be a rancher like his grandfather.
“He was a hero to me because of the way he lived and because of the principles he lived by,” he said.
Bonner understood that owning his own business would mean greater responsibility, but he was willing to take that risk.
“I was looking for the freedom of my time and to be in control over it,” he said. “I wanted to spend time with my kids as they grew up.”
State Farm sent Bonner through a program called Agency 2000 and once he passed each of his classes, exams, and interviews he was appointed as an agent.
“I took over the existing book of Jim Harmon in Portales, who was the previous State Farm agent. I reaped the fruit of his labor. Therefore, my costs for getting the business off the ground were different from someone starting fresh,” he explained.
He described his nervous doubts of being his own boss when he stepped into his new position.
“There were days when I wondered if I could do this job,” he said.
There were days like one three weeks after Bonner had been appointed as an agent. In May of 1996, a hail storm hit Portales at about 4 p.m.
“By 5 p.m., I had about 600 clients, which made me question my logic if had I done the right thing,” he said.
Bonner credits his wife Nikkie for any success he has gained along the way. “Before I was an agent, there was a point when I had written my letter of resignation, put a stamp on it and brought it home to mail,” he said. “I told my wife that I was done with insurance, but she asked me to give it one more day.
“She (said) ‘one more day’ (to) me for six months. Had she not been there when I wanted to throw in the towel, I would not be here today,” he said.
Nikkie said she kept encouraging her husband because it wasn’t in her nature to give up.
“Even though times get rough it’s worth it to be persistent and keep going,” she said.
Bonner said his greatest obstacle in the business has been finding the right employees, writing insurance policies within the underwriting guidelines of State Farm and satisfying the needs of people.
His most rewarding time during his job is when he can provide for his clients that have a claim.
Working as an agent has helped Bonner to appreciate the little things in life.
“I understand that it’s more important to make an impact with your kids and your community than to have success as the world sees it,” Bonner said.