A local university recently received more than $5 million in funding to address the talent gap in the risk management and insurance industry.
On Wednesday, the University of South Florida announced to a room full of community members and journalists at the FCCI rotunda, filling all three sections, that BRP Group Inc., based in Tampa, has invested $5.26 million to address the industry’s talent gap. The endowment at the USF School of Risk Management and Insurance is the largest given to the Sarasota-Manatee campus.
BRP Group, formerly known as Baldwin Risk Partners, went public in 2019 under the BRP symbol. The company closed last year with revenue of $567.3 million.
With this gift, the school was renamed the Baldwin Risk Partners School of Risk Management and Insurance. USF President Rhea Law cited the RIMS Risk Management Talent 2025 Report, published in 2025, which found only 16% of industry experts believe there will be a sufficient number of risk management graduates to meet the 2025 demand.
“Only 16% believe we are meeting future needs,” Law said at the event. “This tells us that we need to do something.”
USF’s program went into effect in 2016, before the school switched to a bachelor’s degree the following year.
Lowry Baldwin, chairman and founding partner of BRP Group, says the funding came about after co-founder and USF alumnus Elizabeth Krystyn supported student scholarships. “We talked about the opportunity to grow, since the school is new, that we can make money to start developing the future talent that is coming into our business,” Baldwin said at the event.
Richard Tallo, the company’s chief marketing officer, has been working with the school “to explain what the best insurance and risk management opportunities are,” Baldwin says of the partnership. “It’s about us developing our skills. We want to make money to develop talent that is homegrown and compatible with our culture. “
The company is no stranger to the talent gap. “Finding talented, efficient, flexible people is very difficult,” he says. Currently, the company is working with the school to determine how to increase the gift.
With the money, Baldwin believes the program will provide talent sooner rather than later.
“I think it’s really helping to advance the university’s R&I program much faster than it would otherwise,” he says. “So we have a very good opportunity over the next three to five years to really build this school into a stronger state than it would have been without our funding.”
Steve Miller, associate professor and director of the school, says the money will help the school grow by building a program that meets the talent needs that companies and the public are facing. Miller says the money will be used to attract and support students as well as provide special educational programs and opportunities for those students. It will also be used to attract teachers.
“One of the things our industry faces with such a talent crisis is (that) it’s very difficult to develop successful risk management and insurance programs,” Miller says. “Our industry is having trouble explaining the variety of careers available in risk management and insurance to students. Because there aren’t many risk management and insurance programs there is also a shortage of academics in our curriculum.”
To be successful, Miller says, information and opportunities to participate in academic conferences must be provided to educators so that they can disseminate original research for use in industry.
“We think,” says Law, “this money will increase the visibility of the program, the recognition of technology and (bring) a comprehensive educational experience to our students.”