CoyleKiley, Rockford IL. Photo by Mindy Joy Photography.

Michele is Vice President & Director of Employee Benefits at CoyleKiley, BAN’s most recent member agency. Michele graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska with a degree in Journalism/Marketing. She began her insurance career in 1995 at Rockford Health Plans. Michele holds her Accident/Health, Life and Long Term Care licenses. She joined CoyleKiley in 2010.

What is your background, and how did you get into the EB business?
Shortly after graduating from college, I started working as an Operations Manager for a medical billing office in Rockford, IL. I became friends with a few of the Account Executives that worked for the local HMO plan, who had offices in our same building. They asked if I would be interested in working with them and that was the beginning of my insurance career in 1996. That HMO plan was then purchased by a larger regional plan and shortly after that in early 2003, I left the carrier side to become a consultant with a small, locally owned and operated Employee Benefit agency in Rockford. Then, in 2010, I joined CoyleKiley agency to develop the Employee Benefits Division, which has grown from 1 employee to 9 employees in 13 years.

What are your leadership principles?
I have these two sayings hanging up in my office:
Leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.
Leadership is not about being the best, but it is about making everyone else better.

What are you looking forward to achieving as a BAN member?
I am looking forward to collaborating with other insurance professionals on best practices to help me grow personally and professionally within my career.

How are you advising your clients regarding ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, and a shaky economy? Are you concerned about a recession?
We pride ourselves on our relationships with our customers which keeps us involved in their business throughout the year. We share industry trends as well as future outlooks with them on an ongoing basis so that price increases and economic setbacks are not a surprise. We have not spoken too much with our customers about a “recession” at this time.

What is your outlook for your agency in 2024?
To continue our 97% retention rate as being the “agency of choice” for our current customers as well as continue to grow locally, regionally, and nationally.

What is this industry’s largest challenge?
The cost of group medical insurance.

What are two lessons that you learned during your career that you can pass along to future leaders in the insurance industry?
I have learned that Transparency is always the best policy and to Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Michele can be reached at

Follow Michele on LinkedIn.