Travel insurance aggregator Go One Global has been around since 1985. But it has just launched its new platform for selling insurance to travelers worldwide at G1G.com.
As a global aggregator, G1G is different from underwriters, such as better-marketed, household names like Travel Guard.
In 1997 Go One Global was the first online aggregator of travel insurance products. Today it has 30 employees, split among its hub in San Jose, an office in Southern California, and teams in Hyderabad and Chennai, India.
CEO Zubair Jeewanjee, the free-speaking son of the founder Zain Jeewanjee, sought advice from Talat Imram, co-founder of the much-discussed startup VentureHealth.
Jeewanjee then hired lead creative designer Nikolay Maslov and art director Mike Reed and many developers to launch a site that's mobile-first and relevant to users worldwide.
G1G is relaunching its platform with APIs (software data feeds that share content among applications). This will allow customers to purchase policies directly from the website rather than be referred off to insurers directly.
Jeewanjee considers this a leap ahead of the old iFrame model still used by its rivals.
The streamlined design asks customers four simple questions on the homepage, to quickly produce a curated selection of relevant policies.
Customers can refine the results with Kayak-style ‘sliders,’ allowing the customer to adjust deductibles and coverage maximums that are immediately reflected in the display.
Further customization handles the nuances of dealing with customers from various parts of the globe traveling to various parts of the globe. It considers things like carrier provider networks in a traveler's primary destination, for example.
Jeewanjee told Tnooz:
"We understand that when you travel you don’t give a shit about travel insurance, at least until you need it. So our revamped site aims to make the process of purchasing as easy as possible.
Other marketplaces aren't truly global. And they lack a granular perspective for each regional market, and different demographic profiles of traveler....
Our primary revenue stream is our curated platter of travel insurance products and services we offer.
Our secondary stream of revenue is our B2B affiliate outreach program, where organizations from various industries use our platform to resell G1G products and services to their clients, thus extending our brand to a larger audience.
By the end of 2015, we plan to reopen offering our niche customer realtionship management software, delivered via a software-as-a-service model, which has been placed on the shelf since undergoing a huge re-development for the last two years.
By mid 2016, we will also be offering carefully selected travel related products and services.
From 2012 to 2014, the market saw a 40% growth in trip cancellation and trip protection, a figure that is estimated to grow even larger in the coming year.
Returns such as these have contributed greatly to our overall growth of just over 30% in total gross written premiums, and an additional 40% growth in overall travel insurance products.
Wholesale markets for aggregation models have seen around $125 million a year with a steady increase of 36% every year, and I think we will see a good portion of this transitioning our way by the final quarter of 2015.
Overall, the number of travelers has increased dramatically each year, and many of them are uninsured during their excursion.
The potential outreach to many untapped markets is an area we will extend into as various demographics of people expand travel. With an expected growth of over 5% in travel growth in coming years, the market is only getting bigger.
That said, our competition is every travel aggregator, airline, travel agent, credit card company or any other domestic and international closed market provider of travel insurance products and services.
Yet in some senses we have a clear way to growth and further profit....
Within travel insurance, no one has the experience we do as an aggregator.
The problem with the existing aggregators is that once they make the point-of=sale, they just pass the client off to the underwriter so this void leaves an opportunity for us to fill. We fulfill the transaction on our own platform.
Also, both travel insurance underwriters and aggregators consider themselves to be a part of the financial services industry. I mean just the sound of that seems cold right? I instantly think of the recent financial meltdown.
However, in fairness to the insurance indsutry, only AIG collapsed and that was because they got into banking. The insurance industry is actually run surprisingly well, mainly because its regulated at a state level, not the federal level like our counterparts in the financial service industry.
But for that reason they have sort of stuck to the mantra, ‘if it's not broken, don’t fix it.’
I don’t blame them, I mean they pay out legitimate claims and do their part, but since they are so profitable there is little incentive to improve and innovate and they are rooted heavily into a legacy model of delivering there services.
Again because of this void in the insurance industry we consider ourselves to be part of the travel and hospitality industry. It's this mentality that allows us to be challenged and focus on our customers' needs.
Purchasing travel insurance is actually really painful for consumers, and we speculate that’s why most travelers don’t purchase it.
I've been working in the industry for almost two decades, yet when we began our creative analysis and brainstorming for this new platform in 2012, we looked at how others were offering travel insurance and I was actually quoted saying, “I would rather get sick abroad then have to deal with this”.
It was seriously that bad and the process was just overwhelming. So the other problem we sought to solve was making the process of connecting the user with the appropriate plan for their trip as simple as possible...
This industry lacks transparency and access to basic answers from consumers.
We are the first to offer a customer portal where clients can gain access to vital information in the case of an emergency, 24-hours-a-day, from anywhere in the world on a computer, smartphone or tablet.
AirBnB is a company we often reference internally here at GIG. From their Zappos-inspired culture, to the way they handle their user experience online, we have learned a lot from them.
I personally use their company, I’ve studied it, and I am impressed. In many ways, we are The Kinks and they are The Beatles — still great, just less known.
We have already received investment and acquisition offers from underwriters, investment firms, etc… so a potential acquire someday could be from different industries.
The offers have been tantalizing but we only consider spaces which would allow the company to continue its outreach without infringing on the original mission of the company....
The G1G story begins on a somber note, but the experience was one that came to define our mission.
In 1983, my father came to the United States seeking medical treatment for his third child’s rare muscular disease at UC San Francisco’s children’s hospital. This was his second child to be born with the disease, and Zain was determined to seek out the most specialized care available.
As fate would have it, my father lost his son, leaving he and his family emotionally devastated. He would soon discover that they would be left financially devastated as well.
Having been mislead to believe that his son's procedures were covered under his travel insurance policy, Zain was left with slightly under $200,000 of unexpected medical debt.
He vowed to move the travel insurance industry forward by providing quality travel medical policies as straightforwardly as possible, so others would never have to be in the same unfortunate situation that he was in.
Consumer empowerment has always been the spirit behind G1G, and it became clear that an aggregation-based model would be the ideal way for clients to choose the best travel insurance policy for them.
As his son and having worked my way up through the company, I'm carrying the legacy forward."
G1G has created a Vine:
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