Jim Hoffmann retiring after 60 years with Principal Mutual

Pictured L to R: Lou Geistfeld, President, Citizens Bank Minnesota, Nick Hage, Agency Manager, Citizens Agency, Jim Hoffmann, Jim Hoffmann Agency, and Mark Denn, Executive Vice President, Citizens Bank Minnesota. Hoffmann has sold his Blue Cross/Blue Shield business to Citizens Agency as he retires after 60 years in the insurance business.

NEW ULM — Jim Hoffmann looks like he could continue selling insurance for another 10 years or so, but after 60 years with Principal Insurance, Hoffmann has decided it’s time to retire. His retirement is official today, July 1.

Hoffmann has sold his Blue Cross/Blue Shield business to Citizens Agency who will be servicing Hoffman’s clients in the future. Citizens Agency is affiliated with Citizens Bank Minnesota and is located next to the bank at 105 N. Minnesota Street. They have over 100 years of combined experience in the insurance industry and they are a full-service independent agency that represents over 20 different insurance companies.

“Lou Geistfeld said they’s take that over for me, and that’s very important, I want to keep that business local,” said Hoffmann.

Hoffmann said he is fully vested in his life insurance accounts and he will keep servicing those. But he has moved out of his office.

Hoffman’s career started in 1959 in New Ulm. He had just returned to New Ulm after three years of service in the U.S. Army, with a wife a two young daughters to support. He had a job lined up at Kraft, but before he started, Hoffmann accepted an invitation to have lunch with a representative of Bankers Life, an insurance company that later became Principal Mutual. He wanted Jim to come sell life insurance for Bankers Life.

“After a four hour meeting, I accepted the job,” Hoffmann recalls. “I remember him telling me, ‘If you want to keep on taking orders like you did in the Army, go work for Kraft. But if you want to make your own decisions and give other people orders, come work for us.”

For the past 60 years, Hoffmann has been doing just that, selling insurance and serving his clients. How does one do it that long?

“People in New Ulm were obviously very good to me,” he said. “Volunteerism didn’t hurt,” he added. His contacts through his volunteerism, his playing for and managing the New Ulm Brewers, his coaching basketball at the old St. Mary’s School, his activity in the Knights of Columbus, all helped him make contacts and find customers.

But keeping customers, and staying in business for 60 years takes a little more, said Hofffmann.

“Honesty, integrity and service above and beyond are the real necessary things in a small community, because if you do something wrong in a small community you’re going to be promote out, not in.”

Hoffmann said he has enjoyed the service part of his job, even the sad duty of handing a life insurance payouts. “it’s a sad time, but that insurance payout is often what they have to live on, and it’s important to them.”

Over the years has won mutliple awards for productivity and sales in the company and the industry, and in the community as well. He has been named the Knights of Columbus Knight of the Year four times, and the Hoffmanns have twice earned the K of C Family of the Year award. He was the 2017 Outstanding Senior for Brown County, and in 2018 was named to the ISD 88 Alumni Hall of Fame.

Hoffmann said he has a lake home he will be visiting as often as he can, and he will pursue his other hobbies — he enjoys putting together big jigsaw puzzles, the 4,000 piece kind. He also does crossword puzzles, and enjoys watching the Twins.


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