Fort Kent insurance agency expands despite pandemic
FORT KENT, Maine — With many businesses throughout Maine and the United States struggling to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Fort Kent insurance agency recently moved to a new location in the town to provide room for expanded services.
Nikki Shields Agency made the move from 34 East Main St. to the new location at 54 East Main St., across from Gas-N-Go convenience store, because the business outgrew its space, proprietor Nikki Shields said.
“I added a life and health agent who specializes in Medicare and patient assistance programs,” Shields said. “With that addition we needed more room and I was fortunate to remain on Main Street.”
For about the first eight weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency worked remotely to ensure the safety and well-being of customers and staff.
“Even during a pandemic, insurance is still necessary,” Shields said. “Fortunately, as long as we have a phone, computer and Internet, it’s business as usual. We can access what we need anywhere, however we sure did miss that in-person contact with our customers.”
The business, which currently provides in-person services at the new Main Street location, may have experienced success throughout the pandemic due to the variety of services it provides, Shields said.
The agency offers insurance covering automobile, homeowner’s, rental properties, farms, commercial, business, life, annuities and health insurance.
“We also have a new service that I’m so excited about and that is helping people navigate the various patient assistance programs available,” Shields said.
Crystal Condo, a licensed life and health agent and Medicare specialist who formerly worked at Northern Maine Medical Center, joined Nikki Shields Agency in early January.
“She brings much experience from her previous job and has helped clients save hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the years on prescriptions and insurance premiums,” Shields said. “She will continue to offer her expertise with these various assistance programs.”
Another employee, Makayla Martin, currently provides customer service and is studying to obtain a property and casualty insurance license.
Nikki Shields has 25 years of experience working in the insurance industry in Presque Isle and downstate and opened Nikki Shields Agency in Fort Kent in 2016.
“My dream of having my own insurance agency came true when an opportunity arose to open an agency for Farm Family Insurance, serving existing and new clients,” Shields said.
Shields said she does not regret the decision.
“I have always loved the St. John Valley,” Shields said. “I was born and raised in Presque Isle, so I am a County girl, however there’s just something extra special about the Valley. The people are unlike any other — so kind, welcoming and appreciative.”
Shields also participates in the local community as a member of the board of directors for the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce and is past president of National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors-Aroostook.
She is a recipient of the Arthur & Helen Charles Excellence in Association Service Award and a graduate of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Leadership in Life Institute.
In her free time, Shields enjoys spending time with her family members, who live away from the St. John Valley.
“Prior to COVID I loved to travel and visit my adult children, sister, nephew and parents,” she said. “I love to visit any place warm on the ocean or lake. I also enjoy attending sporting events, such as the local high school basketball games.”