The State Farm Pocket Agent, unlike most corporate applications, is a ready-made solution to a variety of problems that can emerge while dealing with auto insurance.
Using a simple scroll-down menu, State Farm Pocket Agent provides its customers a means to display insurance card information, maintain their accounts, and submit a claim. These functions require registration as an existing customer, but can be of enormous use for those unfortunate times when insurance or proof of insurance is required.
Of course, State Farm needs to make a profit, so it uses the iPhone's GPS capabilities to list the closest State Farm insurance agents. Fortunately, the interaction with the iPhone GPS capabilities doesn't stop there. The State Farm app can also help with finding hotels, gas stations, tow trucks, taxis, locksmiths and rental car companies - all things one might need when a claim arises. Non-customers can use these functions, too.
Similar to their early websites, many iPhone corporate apps have the heavy-handed feel of marketers trying too hard to race in on the latest technological trends. What develops from this mindset are usually thinly disguised sales channels that solve the short-term corporate need to "get out there" while leaving behind a jaded and less-than-impressed customer base. I warily expected the same from the first-to-market State Farm app, but was pleasantly surprised.
By focusing primarily on customer needs rather than sales, State Farm has provided a useful iPhone app for customers and iPhone owners of all stripes.