Like many people, Mike Becker fell into the insurance industry. But, it wasn’t through a family legacy or a spontaneous walk-in interview.
Back in the early 2000s, Becker was working in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. After a stint as a legislative staffer, he joined the congressional relations team for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, an organization representing pharmaceutical companies.
By 2007, Becker learned the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (or PIA) was looking to fill a government relations position.
“I threw my name in the hat,” said Becker.
Becker spent his days on Capitol Hill as lead liaison to the association's government affairs committee, directing the annual PIA National Federal Legislative Summit, and heading the PIA's day-to-day lobbying efforts.
Five years later in 2012, Becker was tapped to become the Executive Vice President & CEO of PIA. As CEO, he is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the association’s national headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. He also serves as the chief executive officer of its for-profit subsidiary, PIA Services, Inc.
“Insurance professionals are some of the most genuine and caring people that I’ve ever met,” said Becker. “They are passionate about their work, communities, and insureds. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!”
It’s no surprise when asked what he likes most about the insurance industry, Becker says the people, hands down.
“The icing on the cake is being part of an industry that is designed to give back, rebuild, and repair,” said Becker.
This is the way Mike Becker works.
CEO, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
One word that describes how you like to work.
Passionately. I have the unique opportunity to serve thousands of independent agents across the country. I believe in the work and integrity of independent agents and the role they serve in the industry. They deserve as much passion and commitment from me as they provide to their insureds.
Current mobile device:
iPhone Xs but my Microsoft Surface goes everywhere with me, too.
I have a Dell desktop in my office but bounce between my desktop and my Microsoft Surface. I use Microsoft 365, so the devices sync seamlessly.
Project(s) you’re currently working on:
I’m always working on helping independent agents tackle their challenges and become more successful, more profitable. One of the things I’m working on now is putting together a uniquely defined, targeted insuretech program that will bridge some existing gaps in the industry to help agents take advantage of new opportunities. Stay tuned!
Accomplishments you’re proud of:
My family. I have an incredible wife, and we’re the proud parents of four kids – three boys and a girl.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
To continue to put valuable programs and services in front of agents that are designed to help them be successful. I’m also always looking at ways to make the PIA organization run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and in a manner that will take on the future needs of independent agents.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
The insurance industry is evolving at a quick pace, and it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve. With so much change it’s important, and often challenging, to not lose focus on your mission. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the new things in the industry.
The challenging part? Determining which of the many new things will really advance the interests of independent agents, and which may fall short of the mark or not address your goals. Keeping your head above the weeds and maintaining focus on your objectives, all while being part of the change that is driving the industry forward is critical.
What do you like most about your job?
The people. I’m a big advocate for the people that make up this industry – from the staff of PIA, to the independent agent members, to our carrier partners, and beyond. The people in this industry are what drives me.
Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
I never thought I’d say this, but my smart home gadgets. I fought it for a long time, then one-by-one they made it into my home. We have various Amazon Alexa devices in my house. We also have a Nest doorbell and a smart thermostat. Who would have thought I’d be setting so many timers, needing to see if my delivery arrived, or changing the thermostat from my sofa!?
What technology, apps or tools can’t you live without?
Microsoft Office 365. I have it on my desktop computer, Microsoft Surface, and iPhone. Everything syncs seamlessly, so I can jump from one device to another. My favorite program within Microsoft 365? OneNote. I take notes on everything and OneNote organizes it all so my notes on any topic are always just a click away.
Describe your workspace.
Relatively clean and organized (with lots of charging cords!). I rarely use paper, so if you see paper that’s been sitting on my desk, it’s probably because I’ve been working off the electronic version on my computer.
How do you manage your to-do list?
One thing at a time. I try and finish a task or move something forward before going to the next item. If I don’t do that, I spin a lot of wheels without any real movement.
What’s your best time-saving tip or hack?
When I wake up in the morning, I immediately begin prioritizing my day. I think about my schedule and the necessary steps my priorities will require, all before I’m dressed. When I sit down at my desk, I’m roaring to go with a schedule and plan in mind.
What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office?
What do you listen to while working?
White noise. I have a small fan that is always running in my office.
What are you currently reading?
A Long Way Gone. It’s a memoir about a child soldier in a Sierra Leon war. Prior to this, I read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. It’s a book about organizational motivation and how leaders can inspire action. There’s a great Ted Talk on it!
Favorite social network?
I use Facebook to mostly post pictures of my kids. I also have a Twitter account (@becker_mike) that I use to share insurance-related news.
Coffee or tea?
Night owl or morning person?
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
My wife and I watch old sitcoms on Netflix. It normally takes about 10 months to get through an entire series. We’ve watched everything from Friends (our favorite), to Wonder Years, to Cheers.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I’m in bed by 11:00 p.m. and asleep before my head hits the pillow. I’m up around 6:00 a.m.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m normally the first up in my house, so I’m able to get ahead on some emails and plan my day. When my kids get up, I’ll spend some time with them and my wife before heading out. When I’m not traveling, I’ll spend my days in the office meeting with staff or talking with agents around the country. My evenings are normally jampacked. I coach spring and fall baseball in my community and serve on my pool and racquet club’s board of directors.
Who are your business idols and why?
I draw inspiration from many people in business and I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of strong leaders around me. I’ve learned that no one has all the answers for your own unique situation. Learn from the best and the brightest, adapt good ideas, but always chart your own course.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
Here’s the kid in me: A baseball player or a pilot. While I love both – baseball and airplanes – I probably couldn’t keep up with either schedule. I like being at home!
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
Tony Curti, Chief of Staff, Acrisure
Clare DeNicola, Principal, the10company