Big I MN has been focusing on the growing need from our members to bring awareness to the various career opportunities available in the insurance industry. With the struggles in hiring and finding quality candidates, we hope to help fill some of the gaps the industry may be facing in the future by focusing on students with academic interests that may relate well to insurance, and specifically as an independent agent.

In early April, Big I MN hosted its largest event of the year, the Big I MN Expo. This event brought together more than 600 insurance professionals and was a great time to connect with our members and company partners. As part of the event, Big I MN hosted a Power in Partners Appreciation Luncheon in which Dan Riley, Director of Risk Management & Insurance and Executive Fellow at the University of St. Thomas, provided updates about the expansion of their Risk Management and Insurance program. We also had two students from Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS, a collegiate organization for students interested in careers in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science) talk about their organization’s growth and partnership with the Big I MN. Mike Happe, Chief Marketing Officer at SFM, provided updates on how several Minnesota educational institutions are actively shaping the future of the industry and doing their best to add new insurance related courses, GIS chapters, and efforts to engage with insurance industry professionals. However, at some universities, challenges persist, such as declining enrollment and program cuts. Nevertheless, significant investments, like North Star Mutual’s $3 million contribution to Southwest Minnesota State University, and the expansion of programs and interest at the University of St. Thomas, demonstrate a commitment to advancing education and opportunities in the insurance sector.

Following the Expo, Big I MN staff and members participated in the University of Minnesota’s Center for Sales Leadership and Education 2024 National Sales Competition. Over 17 universities from across the country participated. Sponsored by Big I MN, the event brought together volunteers from various companies with students eager to pursue careers in sales and marketing. These students were well-prepared with insightful questions and were eager to learn about the advantages of career opportunities in the insurance sector. Resumes collected from the competition offer potential staffing or internship opportunities for interested parties and can be obtained by contacting

The Big I MN has also been partnering with the University of St. Thomas in numerous ways. Their GIS chapter recently invited us in for a lunch and learn where Big I MN member, Lisa Hengel, from Willow Wood Insurance in Edina, talked about her experience as an insurance agent and agency owner to help inform students about the various avenues into the industry and why it is a career worth exploring. The Center for Risk Management & Insurance and GIS has also unveiled plans for the Minnesota Insurance Hall of Fame. This initiative seeks to honor influential figures in Minnesota’s insurance industry through an annual induction ceremony. The inaugural class, celebrated on October 24, 2024, at St. Thomas University, will recognize individuals who have made lasting contributions to the state’s insurance sector. Fundraising efforts from the event will support scholarships and internships for students in the RM&I program. Nominations for future inductees are open through the official website or you can contact Dan Riley at Big I MN contributes funds to support the RM & I program and has a seat on the Advisory Board.

If you are passionate about supporting students and growing the next generation of industry professionals, we have a variety of ways to get more involved. In addition to volunteering at events like career fairs and sales competitions, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a career-focused, college-preparatory school for students with limited economic resources, is seeking work study opportunities for their students in the metro area. The school uniquely integrates rigorous academic curricula with four years of professional work experience. Each student would work in your office approximately 45-50 days a year with transportation being handled by the school. If you are interested in learning more about the work study program or other student opportunities in general, please contact

Support Your PACs

Two PACs. Two Reasons.

Big I Minnesota members are called upon to invest in their future by contributing to two funds, one for Minnesota state and one for federal action. Each serves a specific purpose. When you donate to one or both of our political action committees, you know you’re helping support the very people who are working to ensure your ease of doing business.

Big I MN

The mission of the Big I Minnesota is to provide its independent agent members with professional development tools and business resources to aid in their success while advocating to provide a favorable marketplace and climate that allows them to serve their customers with integrity and high ethical standards.