By Laurie Everett
Jennifer Pollock Osborne is a self-described Medicare nerd. She’s also a highly successful local business owner who is all about empowering women to find their nugget in the business world and blaze a path toward individual independence – while extending a service that is invaluable to others.
A mother of adult twin girls and a son, Jennifer has forged a business that is solid and highly respected. She is the Agency Principal of IMS (Insurance Management Services). Her division is located in Mt. Juliet on North Mt. Juliet Road. It’s solely operated by women.
In layman’s terms (because it’s pretty complicated), Jennifer and her team help people figure out their health or Medicare insurance needs and then help them get enrolled into the plan they’ve pinpointed best for them.
In other words, they are a lifeline to people who all of a sudden realize they are reaching the golden age of retirement and are completely in the dark on what to do, insurance-wise. It’s a scary place and Jennifer eases the navigation process in a way only a woman long experienced in this field can.
Jennifer has been in this business for over 20 years, on her own. Her father opened IMS in 1992. She worked for him
and learned the ropes. When he retired he sold IMS, with the exception of Jennifer’s book of business. She restarted a division of IMS and focused on her expertise, which is Medicare and health.
“I handled COBRA benefits back then,” she said. “I learned about Medicare, both individual and family.”
Jennifer said she originally wanted to be a doctor. “Two of my kids are in the medical field now,” she noted. But, she loved her job in the insurance field, and, had a goal to be self-employed. She got the nerve to forge her own path and refocus.
“I am not the only woman in this office who has had to jump off a cliff with a leap of faith to start on my own,” said Jennifer. “The woman who work with me had to make the same choices, and basically started from scratch. Jaime and I went to Mt. Juliet High School together and have worked together for 20 years.”
Jaime worked for Jennifer’s dad at his insurance agency. And, Jaime’s mother, Judy, left her job and decided to come and work with Jennifer.
“Tricia is my assistant and is newly licensed!” said Jennifer. “None of these ladies started here with any salary at all, except Tricia. They had to meet with clients and earn the trust of those clients and be paid by insurance companies. They are all very good at what they do.”
In simple terms, what they “do” is some small group plans, but their specialty is the individual, and especially, the Medicare demographic.
“Medicare is a very complicated beast with many working parts,” Jennifer explained. “There are laws, penalties, enrollment windows, special elections, different plan types and structures and so much more that it makes most peoples’ heads spin. When someone is approaching the golden age of 65, they are bombarded with mail from companies that sell Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D drug plans and they also get telephone calls from people trying to get them to purchase a product from them. It’s somewhat of a predatory market in my opinion.”
What IMS does is different. They sit down with each client, face to face, and draw a picture to help them understand their different options.
“We want them to be educated on the different Medicare options, not just be told what is best for them,” this entrepreneur explained. “Once we educate them on the different routes, we then go over their list of doctors, medications, and medical issues to see what may best fit their needs.”
Jennifer said the Medicare product landscape has changed drastically over the last 12 years and is still changing, “for the better.” They are paid by the insurance companies and the government sets the amount they are allowed to pay them so they are not biased toward one plan verses another.
“We also represent every plan available in the state,” she said. “Our storage room is like Disneyland for a Medicare nerd like myself!”
Jennifer said while it’s not easy being a woman entrepreneur in such a competitive field, she loves her team like family.
“We absolutely love our clients and we love what we do,” she said with a smile. “We have a lot of fun together and we trust each other wholly.”
IMS is also a trade partner for Del Webb retirement community in Mt. Juliet. They love the Del Webbers and they cover the entire state of Tennessee, as well as some other states.
Jennifer has been there and done that in her field, successfully. She encourages other women to take that leap of faith to self-employment.
“It’s OK to be scared,” she advised. “It’s a day to day faith walk. I know everything is OK, as long as my family is OK.”
And during “open enrollment” for Medicare she works dusk to dark, she reiterated her career journey is worth it all.
“It’s hard sometimes, but it’s a great journey,” she said. And, because Jennifer and her team believe in “self-care” and the important knowledge that you can’t pour an empty vessel, each year Jennifer takes her team on a cruise in January – a girls’ trip for sure.
“We all agree that it is the most fun trip we’ve all ever been on,” she laughed.
This boss trusts her team so much, she took a family trip to Ireland in September to refresh and recharge and spend time with her loved ones.
To talk to Jennifer and learn how to navigate retirement insurance, call IMS at 615.831.3800
By Laurie Everett