Member Spotlight: Jim Gregware
Current Employer: Mercer Health and Benefits LLC
Both my wife and I were born and raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee. Yes, I am a cheese-head, go Pack! We met and were business majors at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. We got married after college and raised two sons and now have three grandsons. We moved to Virginia in 1999 to have access to better weather, Richmond is an excellent fit for us.
I have been a Health and Benefits Consultant with Mercer since 2013. I started my career as a pension/401(k) administrator, moved into health benefits, then into the insurance industry.
My first insurance assignment was setting up leased PPO network arrangements in major cities around the country for Wausau Insurance Companies, (owned by Nationwide, then Liberty Mutual). From there, Liberty Mutual recruited me into their Property & Casualty National Accounts unit. I continued to work in National Accounts for Anthem and Aetna in medical account management and sales. Prior to my current role, I worked at CarMax as their Senior Health Plan Analyst. I have been fortunate to see and experience the benefits industry from many different angles.
I obtained my CEBS designation when I worked at Wausau Insurance Companies in 1994. I had a young family at the time and studied early mornings before work and managed to obtain the designation in less than three years.
Favorite Richmond restaurants
Frank’s West for pizza, TD’s Smokehouse for BBQ, Edo’s Squid for excellent Italian, and Portico Restaurant for good food, service and atmosphere. I am always up for Mexican; my favorite Mexican restaurant is Original Mexican Restaurant on Horsepen Road.
I enjoy listening to music (jazz, rock, R&B and classical) and reading. My fitness program consists of swimming and weight training and I am giving serious thought to taking up hiking and biking. At home, if you don’t find me reading, I am probably working in the kitchen. I am a good cook and an excellent baker. I also enjoy detailing my cars and yardwork (when it is not 90+ degrees outside).
What got you into the benefits field?
I graduated with a BBA in Finance and started my career in the pension/investment field and expanded to benefits. As we know, benefits can get rather complicated and I really enjoy helping people and companies identify and pursue benefit solutions. I became familiar with the CEBS through the International Foundation of Employee Benefits which is located in the greater Milwaukee area.
How has the CEBS designation helped you?
The CEBS designation has opened many doors for me and most of my employers have strongly encouraged having the designation. The coursework to obtain the designation provided good exposure to many areas of benefits. It was most helpful as a young professional to have the credibility that the designation imparts. Being part of the CEBS society has helped me to stay current in the benefits field and provided great contacts within the industry.