June 16, 2020

Western National Insurance Group Announces 2020 Scholarship Recipients

(Minneapolis, Minn.) Western National Insurance Group today announced that its Scholarship Committee has selected the following eight applicants to receive merit-based college scholarships worth $3,000 each for the upcoming fall term: Alison Benz (Wabasso, Minn.), Benjamin Cartford (Stacy, Minn.), Madelynn Dostal (Carlton, Minn.), Ellen Fricker (Brookfield, Wisc.), Lauren Hermann (Grantsburg, Wisc.), Jacob Loosen (Hartford, Wisc.), Madison Smith (Woodinville, Wash.), and Blayre Wisneski (Shakopee, Minn.).

Alison Benz (Wabasso, Minn.), daughter of Nichole and Brett Benz, will be a senior this year at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD) studying Mathematics and Business Analytics. In school, Alison has been a member of the USD Math Club and SERVE, USD’s volunteer organization. Outside of school, she has spent time as a math tutor and a leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Alison’s father, Brett, works in the Claims Department at Western National.


Benjamin Cartford (Stacy, Minn.), son of Julie and Chuck Cartford, will be a sophomore this year at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, studying Biology and Philosophy. In school, Benjamin has been a member of the University of Minnesota’s Chess Club and the Philosophy Club. Outside of school, he leads a Community Chess Club, and recently organized a food collection to benefit those made vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benjamin’s mother, Julie, is a Western National agency partner at Alliance Insurance Advisors in White Bear Lake, Minn.


Madelynn Dostal (Carlton, Minn.), daughter of Jennifer and Andrew Dostal, will be a freshman this year at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) studying International Affairs and Economics. In school, Madelynn has served as President of the National Honor Society and captain of the varsity swim, track and field, and alpine ski teams, respectively. Outside of school, she has been involved in the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program and has acted in performances with New Wine, a ministry drama group.

Madelynn’s mother, Jennifer, is a Western National agency partner at Reliable Insurance Agency in Cloquet, Minn.


Ellen Fricker (Brookfield, Wisc.), daughter of Tracey Moran-Fricker and Matthew Fricker, will be a freshman this year at University of Wisconsin, Madison studying Industrial Engineering. In school, Ellen has served as an officer and leader of the Campus Ministry Council, was a member of the student council, and participated in the theater program. Outside of school, she has volunteered with Children’s Hospital Respite Care and has performed with Acts 17:28 Dance and the Prep Players theater program.

Ellen’s mother, Tracey, is a Western National agency partner at Robertson Ryan & Associates in Milwaukee, Wisc.


Lauren Hermann (Grantsburg, Wisc.), daughter of Jeff and Janelle Hermann, will be a freshman this year at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Marketing and Psychology. In school, Lauren has held officer positions for Student Council, was a member of the National Honor Society, and served as manager of the football team. Outside of school, she has served as group leader for Vacation Bible School and took part in a mission trip through her church.

Lauren’s father, Jeff, is a Western National agency partner at Hermann Insurance Services, Inc. in North Branch, Minn.


Jacob Loosen (Hartford, Wisc.), son of Cindy and Michael Loosen, will be a sophomore this year at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, studying Strategic Communications, Psychology, and Public Health. In school, Jacob has been a member of the University of Minnesota Running Club and has been involved with the Student Marketing Association. Outside of school, Jacob has volunteered his time for various charitable organizations and has been involved with The Hartford Players Summer Musical.

Jacob’s mother, Cindy, is a Western National agency partner at Robertson Ryan & Associates in Milwaukee, Wisc.


Madison Smith (Woodinville, Wash.), daughter of Shauna and Jeremy Smith, will be a freshman this year at Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, Cali.) studying Business. In school, Madison has served as Jump Team Captain for the track and field team and was a member of both the National Honor Society and DECA. Outside of school, she has participated in mission trips to build houses in Tijuana, Mexico and volunteered with the Youth Migrant Project.

Madison’s father, Jeremy, is a Western National agency partner at HUB International in Bothell, Wash.


Blayre Wisneski (Shakopee, Minn.), daughter of Julie and Gene Wisneski, will be a freshman this year at Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) studying Neuroscience and Spanish. In school, Blayre has performed with the jazz band, volunteered with SADD, and served as a Student Ambassador of Shakopee. Outside of school, she has served as Youth Representative and as Secretary of the Shakopee Community Education Advisory Council.

Blayre’s mother, Julie, works in the Customer Relationship Center at Western National.


Scholarships are available annually to eight eligible, college-enrolled children of Western National Insurance Group partner agents and employees in the Group’s states of operation. Applications are judged on a variety of criteria (including academics, curricular and extra-curricular activity participation, a letter of recommendation, and an essay), with students’ identifying information hidden from the judges to ensure the integrity of the scoring process.

“It is our pleasure to award these scholarships to such a talented and accomplished group of students,” said Stuart Henderson, Chief Executive Officer. “These eight young men and women have proven themselves to be extremely hard-working students, leaders among their peers, and highly active participants in the communities where they study and live. They represent a very bright future, and we hope you will join us in congratulating them as our ‘Class of 2020’.”

Western National Insurance, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of property-and-casualty insurance companies providing personal and commercial coverage in 20 states across the Midwestern and Western U.S. as well as in Alaska; and surety bonds in 32 states. The Group writes over $717 million in Direct Premium through eight active insurance companies—Western National Mutual Insurance Company, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company, Western Home Insurance Company, Arizona Auto Insurance Company, Umialik Insurance Company, American Freedom Insurance Company, and Nevada General Insurance Company—and through one affiliate, Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. All of the Group’s products are sold exclusively through professional Independent Insurance Agents.


For further information, please contact:

Steve Norman, CPCU, M.A., AIT
Vice President – Communications & Customer Experience
(952) 921-5680 or (800) 862-6070 Ext. 7680
steven.norman@wnins.com