Citizens Insurance and Bonding Company, Inc., located on Warrenton’s Main Street, prides itself on being a place where you can walk in the front door and meet face-to-face with someone who will take the time to match insurance coverage with your needs.
Today, that person would be Rebecca Harris, who is following in the footsteps of her parents, Anne Harris of Warrenton and the late Jack Harris, who devoted many years to the business.
The insurance agency has been a staple in Warren County for more than a century — records date back to 1897. Gordon Poindexter owned the agency for many years. In the 1950s, Jack Harris came to work for Poindexter, beginning the agency’s long connection with the Harris family.
Harris purchased the insurance agency in 1968. With the purchase of several small agencies in the area, he developed the corporation, Citizens Insurance & Bonding Company, Inc.
Because everything related to the business was hand written, Citizens Insurance operated with nine employees. Jack’s wife, Anne, joined the business in around 1975-76 and remained with Citizens Insurance for many years.
When Jack Harris left for a period of time to manage Warrenton Savings & Loan, a team that included a core group of Al Fleming, Anne Harris, Betty O’Neal, Bonnie Munn, Gilbert Hilliard and Wayne Kinton kept Citizens Insurance going.
Jack Harris returned to Citizens Insurance in the mid-1990s before retiring in 1997 due to health reasons.
Rebecca Harris, Jack and Anne’s daughter, built a career in the hotel and restaurant field and later became field director of Pines of Carolina Girl Scouts. She joined her mother at Citizens Insurance in 1997 and purchased the business in 2000.
Citizens Insurance & Bonding Company, Inc. handles all insurance needs except life and health products. The business has built a client base across North Carolina and is now licensed in Virginia as well.
As is the case with many small town businesses, Citizens Insurance’s client base includes multiple generations of the same families, such as the current generation of Poindexters, and many people who have stayed with the agency for many years.
Whether clients have been with the business for years or are discussing insurance needs for the first time, Citizens Insurance values in-person contact. Rebecca Harris prefers for people to just pop into the downtown office. When a property claim arises, she goes out to perform an agent inspection.
“The personal touch is important,” Harris said. “I prefer one-on-one interaction.”
She talks with clients to learn more about their needs and works to find the best insurance options. As an independent insurance agency, Citizens Insurance is able to offer a wide range of options in terms of insurance providers. However, Harris noted that if the best option for the client is a company she doesn’t represent, she will make a referral or recommendation to ensure that the client receives the best coverage to meet his or her needs.
As the second generation in the family to operated the business, Rebecca had to become accustomed to being called “Little Jack.”
“It used to make me upset, but it doesn’t make me upset anyone,” she said. “I’m proud to be able to continue what was started long ago and continue to offer impeccable, one-on-one customer service.”
As a Warren County native, Harris is proud to operate a business in her hometown. She said that building relationships with clients is important.
“They are not just customers,” Harris said. “They are your friends and neighbors.”
Citizens Insurance & Bonding Company, Inc., located at 116 N. Main St., Warrenton, is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and by appointment at other times. For more information, call 252-257-3128 or visit the Citizens Insurance Facebook page.