PLANNING AHEAD: Jim Grace, president and CEO of InsureMyTrip, says the biggest concerns facing travelers are weather and injury, both before and during the trip. His company acts as an aggregator of travel insurance to find customers the best policy.
Hurricanes, blizzards, tsunamis and volcanoes disrupt travel plans. The globe is dotted with political uprisings. Travelers still have to deal with the standard concerns of canceled flights and sudden illness.
That all adds up to reasons people get travel insurance and what’s enabled Warwick-based InsureMyTrip to have a strong and growing customer base buying a little travel peace of mind.
“Things can happen before you leave. The destination might become uninhabitable if a hurricane runs through it, like in the Caribbean,” said InsureMyTrip founder and CEO Jim Grace. “The biggest concerns are weather and injury, both before and during the trip. Then there’s terrorism.”
InsureMyTrip is an aggregator of travel insurance that gives travelers options for policies through 27 insurance providers. Nearly all of the company’s business is conducted online.
Technology has allowed the company to keep constant watch on global developments that have an immediate impact – or a domino effect – on travel plans.
“We had hundreds of people in Japan when the tsunami hit,” said Grace. “We had hundreds of people in Egypt when the Arab Spring broke out.”
Clouds of ash from the eruption of a volcano in Iceland in 2011 caused travel chaos in Europe.
“People are choosing to go on more and more exotic vacations and they’re taking more risks,” Grace said.
InsureMyTrip grew from seeds of personal experience and a technology career.
“I have an engineering degree and my background is in computers, as well as insurance. I worked for my dad in insurance for a number of years,” explained Grace. “I wanted to marry computers and insurance and this was a logical fit. … I saw travel becoming a big product on the Internet.”
Family travel focused the idea for the business.
“I was traveling with young kids. If a kid gets an ear infection and can’t fly, the airline is not going to give you your money back,” said Grace. “Now I have older parents and there are different considerations. My mom was on a trip … tripped and hurt her leg and needed medical care. The insurance paid for medical evacuation to the nearest hospital and then for her to rejoin her group.”