NAIFA-MT Past President Mike “Montana Mike” Paffhausen grew up in the insurance industry. His father had a long career as an insurance agent and agency manager and, when the time came to choose a career, Paffhausen chose to make a difference in his community by opening his own State Farm agency.
Making a Difference
Now Paffhausen is an agent, and his role is two-fold—serving his customers and coaching his team. The most important quality for an agent, he says, is having a servant’s heart. He describes his agency’s philosophy, saying, “Being there to serve our customers, our community, and our team is the most important thing that wakes us up every day.” He adds that mentoring his team is the most important part of his job, saying, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure their lives are blessed by being a part of ours.”
The Power of Advocacy
Earlier this year, Paffhausen attended NAIFA’s Congressional Conference in Washington, D.C., for the first time and describes the experience as “absolutely top scale.” He believes all members should attend Congressional Conference to be surrounded by the most successful, highly motivated professionals in the industry. “NAIFA provides a platform for all these people to gather under a common flag," he says.
Paffhausen attended Congressional meetings during the conference and shares his perspective. “That kind of grassroots activism is what really makes a meaningful difference. It's not necessarily the lobbyists that always do. It's us that do.” He continues, “When one of the constituents shows up to the delegate's office and has asks, it’s just heard in a different tone and manner. That’s what we’ve always been good at. If you want to understand where your dues go, you need to see it in person.”
The Benefits of NAIFA
When Paffhausen started his agency, a NAIFA member called him and suggested he join, promising him that it would be good for his career. Paffhausen shares that he’s happy someone made that simple ask of him. Since then, he worked his way through NAIFA-MT leadership, currently serving as the chapter’s Immediate Past President.
Among the myriad benefits of being a NAIFA member, Paffhausen highlights three: advocacy, networking, and professional development. “[Advocacy] is the bread and butter of what we do,” he says, adding that it is vital to making sure the industry is not unduly regulated in a way that would harm industry professionals and consumers.
In addition to advocacy, NAIFA provides an excellent opportunity for networking, says Paffhausen. He shares, “NAIFA is the only platform where you get to meet top producers from all backgrounds and companies in a place where you get treated like family.”
Another major benefit of being a NAIFA member is NAIFA’s professional development opportunities, Paffhausen says. He shares that NAIFA speakers are of the same caliber as those at Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) events. To all insurance and financial services professionals, he gives this advice: “If you're serious about this being your career, then you should be serious about keeping it as your career. If you're serious about that, make sure that you're a NAIFA member.”
Outside of the Office
Paffhausen is active in numerous community organizations and has served in leadership positions, including President, in several of them. The organizations he’s involved with include the Butte Local Development Corporation, the Butte Chamber of Commerce, the Uptown Butte Master Plan Association, the Mining City Little Guy Football League, the Southwest Montana Chapter of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Upper Clark Fork River Restoration and Advisory Council.
A native Montanan, Paffhausen enjoys spending time with his wife and children in the great outdoors. They have outdoor family activities for every season—fishing and horseback riding in the spring, boating in the summer, hunting in the fall, and skiing in the winter.
Thank you, Mike, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.