Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The company that’s redefining US travel insurance – ISRAEL21c

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The Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on world travel practices, including the travel insurance industry.

In the United States, where travel insurance was never a priority because most trips are domestic, “Americans really came to understand just how important travel insurance is during the pandemic,” Daniel Green, cofounder and CTO of Faye Whole-Trip Travel Insurance, tells ISRAEL21c.

The once-in-a-lifetime worldwide health crisis highlighted the need to make it a priority going forward.

“The travel insurance industry in the US is 20 years behind a lot of countries in the world,” 

Green adds, citing a statistic that only 40 percent of Americans travel with insurance.

Israel-based Faye was among the companies to recognize the untapped potential and successfully fill the gap in the US travel insurance market in early 2020. 

“We were fortunate and smart enough to be emerging as a travel insurance product just as the initial phase of Covid was ending, where we resumed travel again and understood the risks were more complicated than ever before,” Green explains. 

Settling cases within hours

What makes Faye stand out from other insurance companies, he says, is the immediacy of its services.

Normally, insured travelers have to pay up front when something unexpected changes their plans. If the claim is approved, the company then issues a reimbursement to the client at a later date. 

This process often involves a fair amount of bureaucracy. Faye is designed to cut that red tape.

“If your bags don’t show up and you need a change of clothes, we can transfer to your digital wallet [on the Faye app] the money that you can spend on clothing,” explains Green.   

The interface of the Faye app. Photo courtesy of Faye

“Or, if you miss a flight and there’s another flight that you can get on, we can find you a flight an hour later and get you home.

“In cases like these, the customer doesn’t think, ‘Oh, the important metric here is that my insurance company spends more money on me than what I spent on the policy.’”

The Faye app has automated tracking. Client flight disruptions are immediately visible to the customer service center. This feature makes filing a claim with Faye a relatively stress-free process.

“In some cases, we don’t even necessarily need to wait for you to contact us; we have the ability to take care of you automatically,” Green says.

“We strive to be a company that settles cases within hours or days, and takes care of your problems in the moment where you have them.” 

The evolution 

Faye was founded in 2019 by Green, 40, and his longtime business partner Elad Schaffer, 39, who is Faye’s CEO. 

Faye cofounders Elad Schaffer, left, and Daniel Green. Photo by Omer Hacohen
Faye cofounders Elad Schaffer, left, and Daniel Green. Photo by Omer Hacohen

“The company originally started as a technology for detecting that something had gone wrong on a trip, like cancellations and delays, and trying to give near-instant solutions,” says Green. 

Three months after the launch, however, the world shut down due to Covid. Green and Schaffer “understood the need” for insurance, and the company pivoted.

“We needed to build the technology that would power the insurance and get the necessary licenses, which in some US states can take up to six months,” notes Green. 

In 2022, Faye officially launched as an insurance product. A year later, it was named the Wall Street Journal’s travel insurance product of the year. 

This year, Faye was named Israel’s most promising startup, having raised over $20 million in funding. Its sales revenue has far exceeded $10 million. 

Although the company provides insurance services only in the US, its main office is in Israel, where it employs 40 out of its 60-strong workforce. 

“More than 50 percent of our workforce is female, and our Tel Aviv office also employs a lot of olim [new immigrants]. We’re really proud of that background,” adds Green. 

Travel geeks 

Green is a software engineer who has been working in the field since he was 18, while Schaffer is a business management and law specialist. 

“We complement each other really well. He’s excellent at running a business, and I’m excellent at engineering,” he says with a smile. 

Faye is actually the second company founded by Green and Schaffer. The first one, a crowdsourcing consulting platform, had problems raising funds.

Green says the two business partners always knew they eventually wanted to work in travel. So, their focus slowly moved onto Faye, which originally was called Zenner. 

“Faye is derived from the word ‘fairy’ as we see ourselves as the fairy godmother of our travelers’ adventures, built to help their trips go right,” Green explains.

The pair met nearly 15 years ago after Green immigrated to Israel from Australia. 

“I grew up in Australia, and if you want to go anywhere other than New Zealand, it’s an eight- to nine-hour flight. So, travel is built into all Australians,” Green explains.

“Now, I live in Israel and Israelis also love to travel because [like Australia] Israel is also sort of an island,” he quips. 

For more information on Faye Whole-Trip Travel Insurance, click here

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