As the public attempts to navigate a post-COVID world — or at least one where the disease can be managed — the skies are clearing and travel is going back to normal.
Not without a few challenges, though. As the pandemic swept the globe in the past two years, it added a number of uncertainties including flight cancellations, numerous delays, and restrictions that made even planning a relaxing vacation seem cumbersome. Now that they’re getting used to the new normal, travelers are looking for more responsible travel policies and insurance that can get them through the toughest issues — beyond dealing with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in a foreign country.
Faye, a Tel Aviv-based startup focused on redefining insurance for travelers, has an all-digital platform for Americans that aims to benefit the consumer. It manages more than just financial reimbursement and travel claims. The company was founded in 2019 by current-CEO Elad Schaffer and current-CTO Daniel Green, but only emerged from stealth this year.
While Faye has the technology to boot, it’s innovative approach is how it supports its customers beyond the typical insurance platform. Schaffer names a few travel scenarios that require more than just financial returns. “What happens if you miss your connection? What you need is not necessarily insurance — it’s help getting on the next available flight. If you lose your passport, you don’t just need insurance to give you 50 bucks to cover a new one. What you really need to know is where do I go,” he tells NoCamels, “These are all wider cases than what pure insurance will cover. And we make them available in real time.”
“I think beyond the technology, there is a very fundamental change in how we view the role of travel insurance. And I think for many years, it has been viewed as a reimbursement service for damages that were caused.” Schaffer explains, “We take a very different approach. We believe that the role of the travel insurer is to look after you when you’re on the road. They can look after you by giving you amazing insurance — digital proactive automation pay in seconds. But looking after you entails so much more than that.”
Faye’s insurtech platform covers trips, health, luggage, and even pets, through an easy-to-use smartphone app that sends real-time alerts, provides unlimited access to customer experience specialists, allows users to file claims digitally, and processes those claims fast. Approved claims are sent via electronic transfer to the Faye Wallet. Through the Faye Wallet, travelers can receive quick reimbursements for travel inconveniences (like lost luggage) and use those reimbursements to buy what they need. It can also be connected to Apple Pay or Google Pay.
“You break your leg, you need assistance right now. Your flight was delayed, you don’t know what to do, you just missed your connection. It’s a very different type of insurance that has a real time element to it. And the ability to handle claims, fix them and pay them in real time makes a big difference,” says Schaffer.
Another “layer” that is an important part of Faye’s platform is its travel intelligence. “Travel intelligence is how we make sure that we can track your trip and alert you to what you need to know,” Schaffer explains, “Upon registering with us we ask you to tell us your generic details that include flight information, hotel information, whatever you’re happy to share — we then track those trips. So we can track your flight and alert you to things like flight delays, flight cancellations, where you might pick up your bags, how long it’s going to take you to get into the city,” The company even highlights changing COVID-19 restrictions by airline and country.
The point is “we’re not just sending you these alerts. The idea is that we then connect it to your coverage with us. So if I’m alerting you to a flight delay, you might be entitled to $200 worth of an inconvenience fee. We connect those things that just happened to you to your actual needs at the time.”
For example, if those COVID restrictions have changed your destination, Faye can reach out and offer help to rebook the trip.
“I think the other word to describe it is being proactive. We don’t wait for things to go wrong. We’re tracking what’s happening to help you avoid troubles altogether. And if troubles happen, we’re being proactive in trying to resolve them,” Schaffer says, “It means that we’re looking for solutions, not necessarily money. Because when your flight is delayed and all of a sudden you know you’re only going back to San Francisco in two days, what you really need now is to know where you are going to sleep tonight.’”
“It’s about the philosophy behind what travel insurance should be, and not what it is,” he adds.