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Safety Wing: A New Kind of Travel Insurance ,Jared Schachter ,Ep 84, picture of a man looking at the camera with smiling face

Safety Wing: A New Kind of Travel Insurance | Jared Schachter | Ep 84

Introducing Jared

In today’s episode, we’ll be talking to Jared from Safety Wing. Safety Wing is a very interesting company who are looking to help nomadic people and remote teams to take care of themselves while they are traveling through affordable travel insurance for individuals and teams but also in the future create a social safety net when living overseas for longer periods of time. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I will let Jared do that. All I can say is that when Seb and I are looking to live more remotely, we will be considering Safety Wing.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Travel Insurance
  • Individual travelers
  • Remote Teams
  • Affordable Insurance plan.

Learn more about what we talk about

  • The advantages of Travel Insurance.
  • Details of Insurance packages
  • Monthly Insurance Charges

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Jared

Transcript

Brighde: Hi Jared. Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.
Jared: Of course, really happy to be here. Thanks for the invite.
Brighde: So we are gonna be talking about a topic today, which I think might not be the most glamorous, exciting topic. We’re not talking about these new hotels in Seychelles at all. Um, but we are talking about like insurance and these kinds of more logistical things that we need to think about with travel and it’s interesting because I had somebody on the podcast a few weeks ago, talking about travel insurance and it was our most listened to the episode. So I think travel insurance is something that people are thinking more about and they’re getting a little bit freaked out about all of the different kinds of insurance there are.
And I’m pleased that we’re gonna be talking about, Safety Wing and all of the things that they do because this is such an interesting travel insurance option, and you’re doing so many other amazing things to adapt to a new way of working. So, before we get into our topics that, uh, I just mentioned there, Jared, can you tell us a little bit about what it is that you do, where you work, and a little bit about your lifestyle, please?
Jared: Awesome. For sure. So, I’m Jared, I’m VP of Operations at Safety Wing. I started working with Safety Wing, about four years ago actually as a freelance consultant. I had worked in tech in the past and I started to do my freelance as a way to close the distance between my partner and me, cuz we were doing long distance.
 I wanted more flexibility in terms of the way I was working and I never intended to join necessarily another company. But, it was clear that Safety Wing one of my clients was completely different than any of the rest. So after working with them, for about a year, I joined as head of product and a couple of years ago I switched to VP operations, which is more what I was doing before, in the operations space. All of those titles I know are a bit vague, and people who don’t necessarily work in tech might not even know what they do. What I do right now mostly is, I would say two things with Safety Wing.
The first one is helping with all of our systems to help us scale. So we’re growing really. We just raised what’s called a Series B. Um, so how it works in startup language is you have like a seed round and a series A round and a series B round and then a series C. So we’re at the series B stage, and what that means is every three to six months, the composition of our team is almost entirely different because we’ve hired so many new people and the way we need to work is different.
So I spend a lot of time thinking about how we collaborate and the systems that help us move fast, but also not break too much stuff. The other thing that I do is help everyone on the team hit their goals. So my job is to make sure we all have company goals, product goals, and individual goals, and that we’re all on track to hit them and motivated and excited about it.
So I do several things, but those are two of the main things now. Safety Wing is an entirely distributed company. It’s remote first. It was remote before remote was so much of a thing post covid. I spend about half the year in Squamish, which is where you also live, and about half the year elsewhere.
So for example, like each of the last few winters, we’ve gone to Costa Rica for a few months. Safety Wing because we don’t have an office gets together relatively regularly, so I usually have some sort of team gathering a couple of times a year and extend that. In the fall we’re going to Bali, so I’m gonna be there for six weeks or so.
That’s where I work. I’m a very active and avid outdoors person. My partner and I are both vegans which is why I was so excited. Part of the reason I was so excited to come on this podcast and talk to some of your listeners.
Brighde: Yay. That’s great. Thank you so much for that introduction. So tell us a little bit about the Safety Wing insurance. I have used it a couple of times, over the years. My need for it has changed personally. I haven’t needed this particular kind of insurance.
Could you maybe explain a little bit about Safety Wing and the insurance product and the customer that it would be most suitable for?
Jared: Definitely. So I was a Safety Wing customer before anything else. The way I got in touch was, I was one of their very early customers and they asked for feedback and that’s how I got connected to Sandra, who’s the CEO here, giving some customer feedback. My use case for buying was actually, I’d been working at a job in the US.
I quit that job and I wanted to stay in the US as a visitor for a while, and I needed some sort of insurance. I came across Safety Wing when I was previously at some sort of event, and I heard about the name. We have two products now. We have, which we’ll spend most of the time talking about today, which is Nomad Insurance, which essentially travels insurance, mostly geared towards, longer-term digital nomads.
But realistically now people who are traveling short term use it a lot because it’s just a great product and I can tell you a bit more about that. Then we also, Remote health, which is a product more geared towards remote teams. So for example, Safety Wing uses remote health because we have 100 and something employees spread across 70 countries.
So we can buy remote health. And all of our employees, except for a few specific exclusions, are covered under the same health insurance. That works both, outside of your home country and in your home country. We can get into it later, but we’re building a sort of a suite of all these global benefits, what we call a social safety net.
 Come back and talk about nomad insurance, which I think is probably most relevant for most of your listeners. Essentially what that is, yeah, travel, medical insurance. So if you’re going and spending any time outside of your home country, I would advise, thinking about travel insurance. There’s a small portion of it, which is if your flight gets canceled or whatever, but the bigger portion is, what happens if you have some sort of medical emergency while you’re overseas.
Typically your credit card, if you buy your flights through that, might cover you, but usually, it only goes up to two weeks. I don’t always know how strong the coverage is. So Safety Wing people buy on top of that, or when they’re traveling longer than that because it provides a lot of benefits.
 For example, in covid, it helped people evacuate from their countries. I’ve gotten, some injuries. I got bit by a stingray, actually when we were at our last team gathering and I had Safety Wing insurance. So lots can go wrong when you’re on your trip and realistically it’s quite cheap like it’s only $42 per month.
 It’s not much of a cost, but if something goes drastically wrong, you must have the coverage you need to be able to deal with it.
Brighde: I just wanna say, that is an incredibly reasonable price, an incredibly reasonable price, for travel insurance. You won’t have like a huge amount of trip cancellations with that or trip interruptions with that. But if you just wanna be covered for medical, this is super important.
I do have a couple of questions though. Does that cover medical evacuation? For example, if I got sick out of my country, where I have healthcare, in this case, Canada. If I got sick and I was too sick for a hospital there, would that cover medical evacuation to the nearest city, where there was good health care? 
Jared: In terms of medical evacuation, uh, I will just put a disclaimer. I’m working across all of our products and not necessarily.
You shouldn’t take all of my words for granted in terms of what we cover and don’t cover. I’d recommend reading the policy, but we do have medical evacuation coverage. If you for some reason aren’t able to get seen reliably in a hospital around you. One thing I’ll mention in terms of is the reasonable price.
One of the reasons the prices are reasonable is because we specifically have made this product for people who are; what our persona around digital nomads who aren’t necessarily going on flashy, big expenditure trips where if something happens with their $500 a night hotel, they’re needing to be reimbursed for that.
Although we do have coverage for those things, what we’ve done is build a product based on talking with hundreds of users that we believe gets the job done in terms of exactly what they need at a very reasonable price. That’s what separates us from a lot of other travel insurance. Because they’re covering a lot of things you don’t care about. But for us, we spent a lot of time thinking about the coverages that people who are gonna be buying our product want and need. The reviews are great. So people are enjoying what we cover.
Brighde: Yeah, these days I’m using like our credit card insurance, and then for those longer trips, in Canada, I’m really curious to know what it’s like in other parts of the world. But, with our American Express card, we can purchase this thing called top-up insurance, um, which you could extend this two weeks to longer.
 Something I’m very curious to ask you about is, do you have to be inside your country of residence before you buy the insurance. Because with credit card insurance and a lot of travel insurance, actually you have to buy it before you go away. This can be an issue, for a few reasons that I won’t go into right now.
So can you buy it when you are out of the country that you’re resident in?
Jared: You can and you buy what you buy at, one policy, no matter where in the world you are, there is a top-up that you need to pay if you’re going to be in the US. So that’s the only sort of exclusion. There’s uniqueness in certain countries I think Canada and Australia are the only ones, but you have to be outside of your country to buy it.
So like I buy it as soon as I land in that country. But for most, you can buy it in your home country or outside of your home country. We’ve tried to make it as flexible as possible since we know people who are, like us, aren’t always the most on top of exactly where they’ll be going and when and this type of thing. So, we made it super flexible.
Brighde: It’s just such an incredible price, I think. But of course, everyone who buys insurance should look carefully, at what it covers. But I will say, I’m looking at the webpage right now, and it’s very easy to understand compared with some other insurances that I’ve looked at in the past.
I think you guys have just done an amazing job, at just making it a little bit more accessible and a little bit more understandable. When it comes to making claims, I’m guessing it’s like every other travel insurance that you should probably contact the emergency number before getting any treatment if you’re able to do so, and probably pay out of pocket and make a claim later.
Is that correct?
Jared: Yeah, exactly. If you’re in a serious medical emergency, we have an emergency phone number to call. When I had my issue with the stingray, I just paid out of pocket, for the medical coverage and then submitted a claim online. One of the things we are focused on for sure is simple, easy, and fun.
We wanna make insurance something that’s not so of this black box with all these corporate people who are using language that you can’t understand. So we spend a lot of time trying to work on how we explain things and make it in a way that doesn’t seem intimidating or confusing for our customers.
That’s one of the things that we’ve built our brand on. Now, whenever I go traveling and you’re anywhere, especially where there are people who are long-term travelers or so-called digital nomads, people know about Safety Wing and we get to know our customers and do a lot of content, things, events, etc, for those customers and have built like an authentic following in the community in terms of being a thought leader in this space.
Brighde: Mm, fantastic. And I can see that you have a deductible and there is a limit of a quarter of a million. Is that right?
Jared: So we have the $250 deductible and the limit is $250,000, which in our experience, I don’t know if we’ve had cases that have exceeded that. Maybe if you’re in the US and something goes drastically wrong. Sometimes you will find in some of the other more expensive coverages, 2, 3 million dollars maximum. We’ve found, based on the data that we were able to gather when we were creating the product, that’s many times more of a show thing than something people end up needing to use.
You should make your own decisions and I’m not an expert advisor when it comes to the policy.
Brighde: Fantastic. So the Safety Wing insurance for remote teams. So many companies these days are just having their workers like, all over the world. People who want to take advantage of this nomadic lifestyle, like I’m just imagining if there were people that maybe were listening to this podcast and they wanted to go nomadic, and one of the concerns might be that for their employer is like, how to get them and look after them, the correct way.
So what’s some information about this product that people might like to learn more about? And suggest it to their bosses or maybe if they own a company themselves and they wanted to go remote or how what they would need to know to like go onto the next steps.
Jared: Great. Well, we ran a survey recently, with thousands of people, and saw how many wanted to go remote if they weren’t already, and if they were remote, people are thinking about how do I become a little bit more nomadic. Especially, as prices rise with inflation here in some of our more expensive countries, it’s becoming more and more attractive to spend some time overseas.
One of the things that people yeah, don’t necessarily think about is how great some of the benefits and what we call a social safety net are. You get in many of these more developed countries in which you live. In Canada, many countries in Europe, but when you’re traveling outside of your home country or living outside of your home country, not necessarily as strong.
As well lots of times, local country coverage, even in Canada means long delays for coverage on things, not access to certain types of procedures. That’s why it’s important even if you’re just a remote worker, whether you’re inside or outside of your country or not, for companies to consider purchasing private insurance.
Safety Wing has developed a very unique product similar to Nomad Insurance. In that, you buy one product that works similarly all over the world, no matter what country you’re in. Where this comes into play is, you’re a company of 10, 20, a hundred people, but they’re spread across 5, 10, or 20 geographies.
You could purchase one product and have all of your team members, on the same, generally the same price, and also get the same coverage. So there, we care a lot about equality at Safety Wing. All of our team is also on the same flat pay as our strategy team. So we care a lot about equality across, geographies, and that’s why we developed this product so that companies don’t need to go country by country in terms of deciding what type of policy to buy. What price it is? It’s so cumbersome. If you’re a thousand-thousand-person company, maybe you have many HR benefits managers who have some time and energy to go do that. But what we’re finding is many are excited about Safety Wing because we provide great quality coverage with one product that works everywhere. So this is our second product, Remote Health. That’s starting to take off. And is more focused on our business customers, as opposed to our just-like consumer, direct-to-consumer.
Brighde: That’s incredible. I remember when, uh, I was working as a teacher in an international school in Thailand. First of all, the school had to provide, healthcare for all of the teachers. They were international school teachers. It was extremely expensive. They would try to do these things cuz the premium was very expensive for the school to pay.
Part of the reason for that was, teachers were choosing to go to very expensive hospitals. As a result that was pushing the premiums up a little bit. They would try and tweak it a little bit. They also had to cover us when we are going back to our home countries as well.
Because a lot of the time, if you’ve been out of the country for a while, you are not a resident for healthcare reasons of that country anymore. For example, if you’re going back to the US or even to Canada as well. You have to be in Canada for three months to get healthcare, which is reasonable.
So you have to have coverage when you go back home. Then of course when you are traveling around in the school holidays, it was just a logistical nightmare for the HR team to try to deal with. There’d be stuff that we’re unhappy about when certain things were cut and it’s just so difficult. This is just such a fantastic option and I think would cut off a lot of those pain points, that a lot of companies might have about having their staff go remote.
Jared: You buy one policy and they can essentially go anywhere they want. This takes us to like the grander vision of safety. What gets me so excited about it, is what we’re doing is creating, what we’re calling a social safety net for digital nomads and remote workers. In other words, like what we’re calling a country on the internet.
We haven’t decided, but essentially what we want to do is all of the founders are from Norway, and Norway has a great safety net. It has health insurance, pensions, disability, these types of things where if something were to go wrong, you feel like you’re being taken well care of. What we wanna do is make sure that type of feeling is available to everyone everywhere.
So we’ve started with these insurance-related health insurance related products, but in the next year, we also have come out of a global pension product, disability product, parental leave, all these particular things that are usually tied to one home country, but available globally that a company or person can purchase for themself if they’re traveling cross borders or living outside of their home country, or in a country that doesn’t necessarily have the types of coverages that they would like.
Brighde: So are you saying that if I got a job in a particular country, for the sake of arguments, I got a job teaching in a language school, for example, and they didn’t give me sick pay? Are you saying that if I had been paying into what you’re talking about, I might have some sort of sick pay coverage?
Is that what you’re saying?
Jared: Exactly. Yeah. So we’re trying to make these and whether you’re traveling into that. When I worked in the US I had a 401K that was tied in the US and now I have some money sitting there, but I can’t even access it, right? now that I’ve moved away like I have all these tax implications.
So what we’re trying to do is avoid this and create products that work that a company can purchase or a person can purchase for themselves or their employees that worked in that particular country and globally. We know how many people are going nomadic. There are some statistics around and by 2035 there could be a billion people who are calling themselves nomads.
People now are spending lots of time in places outside of their home country. Companies are so distributed and it just becomes so complicated to have to figure out policies and products to get, to make your employees feel taken care of, by you. Go country by country. So why don’t we create it for everyone and create a product that works for everyone?
And is a fair cost for everyone and has a global reach. So that’s the vision we’re working towards. We see it as sort of these building blocks. We start with these health insurance products because that’s kind of the bedrock. If you don’t have health insurance coverage and something goes wrong when you’re sick, you’re kind of screwed.
But then we start to build on top of that with all these other products, in some countries you take them for granted, but in many countries, you don’t. And what you don’t take for granted is the fact that you can access them from anywhere. So that’s what we’re working on and what I’m so excited about and they kind of all build on each other as we go.
Brighde: Right. I heard a little bit about this idea from one of your colleagues. I was just so excited about it because I’m not an insurance nerd, but I do think about these things quite a lot. Whenever one of our travelers has a question about our insurance, it usually gets directed my way.
I’m thinking about myself. We are living in Squamish with our cats at the moment. They’re in their retirement, but as business owners, when our cats are no longer with us. We hope to be living a 100% nomadic lifestyle. Going from place to place, researching a destination, creating a trip out of it, having travelers come on it, and so on.
So I think something like this is going to be a cost-effective thing. And I just remember something else. When I was finishing up my international school teaching job in Thailand. I had about eight months or so from there, from finishing off working to when I ended up coming to Canada.
I needed to get some sort of insurance, but I didn’t wanna get travel insurance at that time. I ended up getting, you’d call it an ex-pat kind of insurance. You’re probably aware of this, more like, American-style insurance. 
Jared: That’s like our remote health product is that It’s more like that, where you could just go see a physio, you can go see a massage therapist, you can just go get a checkup. Versus the travel insurance is like, something’s gone wrong and I’m in a situation, I need to get medical help versus preventative and proactive and more comprehensive coverage would be remote health. We have, uh, a lot of, we do have a lot of individuals purchasing that. Usually, companies and workers have their company purchase that for them. So it’s both. Right now, while we’re building out the product, are more focused on companies, but we also have it available for individuals.
It was just kind of confusing a little bit between, we didn’t, we haven’t figured out exactly how to talk about that between nomad insurance and remote health and who should use it and when. So for now we’re just keeping one focus on businesses, but individuals, if they come across it and are excited about it, which many are, go ahead. Then we have the one for individuals, which is, Nomad Insurance.
Brighde: Incredible. Yeah, I will say the insurance that I purchased for those eight months was quite expensive. Now I don’t know what Safety Wing’s price point will be, and I’m sure you haven’t even decided that yet, but it was something like nearly $800 a month for the two of us.
Jared: Oh yeah. No, ours is depending on what type of coverage you get and especially if it’s with the company. A lot of people are getting it for 80 to $120 a month.
Brighde: All right. Amazing. 
Jared, I’m just so excited about this product. I know I’m gonna be taking advantage of this in the future. it’s such a needed thing and it’s just gonna be so reassuring for people who are traveling or people who are living overseas. And you’ve got so many amazing products coming up.
Would you mind telling our listeners how they might find Safety Wing? How to stay in touch with these big new products that you’ve got coming along?
Jared: Yeah, the go-to place for sure is our website. So safetywing.com you can learn a lot about our products there. The other thing we do have is some cool tools that people can get access to. One of them that would be especially interesting for your readers is called borderless.
 So essentially what that does is goes through every country in the world and gives you information about what’s happening in terms of their borders and with covid, any vaccines you need, any travel restrictions and provides consistent updates and information about how to enter and things you need to know for each of those countries.
You can access that through safetywing.com or borderless.safetywing.com. There you can subscribe to get, updates, as well as things, and progress in terms of specific countries and restrictions. And also just learn more about what’s upcoming with Safety Wing. I’m also here to chat if anybody would like to learn more about Safety Wing.
I was a user of Safety Wing, a very happy user before I started working here. And I’ve converted many of my family and friends into loyal Safety Wing fans. We’re doing something genuine and authentic in terms of building great products, but in a way that helps our customers and trying to fulfill what I think is a unique and cool vision.
So I would be excited if any of you or your listeners followed us along. Signing up for the newsletter. I’m also here to chat anytime. My name’s Jared and my email is [email protected], so reach out.
Brighde: That’s great, and I see there is a podcast as well.
Jared: Yes, so we also have, as I mentioned, we have these two products; focused on two different types of users. So we have nomad insurance and we have borderless, which is like the content project to, uh, reach those users. But we also have a lot on our Instagram which is called Nomad Cities as well on that particular end.
Then we also do have a podcast, which is called Building Remotely, and that’s sort of our other side of the business focused on helping companies build remote teams. And work collaboratively, and remotely. So Sandra, our CEO, interviews some very interesting guests on different topics related to work, remote work, and remote companies.
So that’s also something I would recommend checking out too if you’re a remote worker or an entrepreneur of any kind.
Brighde: Fantastic, Jared. Thank you so much for taking the time for chatting with me today. That was so interesting. I’m so excited. When’re your next travels and where are you off to?
Jared: Yeah, so we have a team gathering in Bali in early November, which I’m looking forward to. I hear there are a lot of really great vegan food options there, and my partner and I always seek out lots of yoga and stuff, which we love. I’m very much looking forward to that. After that, probably in the winter, I’ll be going back to Costa Rica.
 We go to Puerto Viejo, which is a lesser traveled place on the Caribbean side. Highly recommend it. Great vibes. If anyone’s in the Costa Rica area in the winter, you can hit me up.
Brighde: Amazing. All right. Thank you so much.
Jared: Awesome. Thanks a lot.

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