Well before COVID, a study conducted by MBO Partners suggested that nearly 5 million Americans called themselves Digital Nomads — independent workers traveling (often abroad) while working full or part-time for a company back in the States.
The work from home/work from anywhere realities of our post-pandemic world have made even more employees ditch the home office setup to explore places abroad.
And with the dip in tourism, places as varied as Costa Rica and Estonia are looking to entice tech employees to work from within their borders.
These realities have made for unique opportunities in the InsurTech space. Andrew Jernigan recognized the need for flexible coverage options for remote workers, travelers, and ex-pats alike.
Jernigan told Hypepotamus that he’s embraced working abroad for 22 years, both as a global insurance specialist and as a husband to a global health physician. “The world has been my playground for many years,” he said.
Jernigan and his team launched Insured Nomads in late 2019 and they have already started to expand what it means to provide coverage and peace of mind for travelers.
Starting in April, Insured Nomads’ policyholders will have access to counseling, telemedicine, VPN services, and SOS/panic button response for political unrest or natural disasters through a new partnership with Safeture, a Swedish IT travel and safety company.
Additional perks will include airport lounge access and a policy ID card that integrates with the Mastercard system. This will help streamline the payment process should treatment abroad be needed.
For Jernigan, this is about providing a traveler with holistic coverage. “People buying these insurance policies are crossing cultures, crossing boundaries, and they need to be aware of not just their physical health, but also their data.”
As far as where Insured Nomad policyholders are heading these days, Jernigan said Portugal, Malta, and Croatia are popular destinations.
Birmingham InsurTech Goes Global
Travel insurance is traditionally a hard sell, according to Allen Koski, President and Chief Innovation Officer. Prior to COVID, around 30% of people would get insurance before leaving home to supplement at-home coverage. “People think they are buying a policy they are never going to use.” But with COVID, people are more aware of the importance of health and safety while traveling.
You may expect launching a global health insurance company months before the COVID-19 pandemic to be a bumpy startup journey. But Jernigan says the team and the concept have grown substantially over the year. “It’s been really liberating for many people to not be dreaming of someday moving to Costa Rica. They’re realizing they can keep the job they currently have and really relocate.”
From its Birmingham HQ, the team has grown to around 20 people and raised a pre-seed round from Mucker Capital, Hustle Fund, and BP Capital.
Jernigan said Insured Nomads plans to open its next round later this spring.
Featured Photo courtesy of Insured Nomads. Allen Koski on left, Andrew Jernigan on right