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News Buddy: An Innovative Solution to a Glaring Gap in the Accident Insurance Landscape

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In adventure sports, the costs associated with even small accidents can be the difference between a lifetime enjoying an activity and being forced to sell your gear just to make ends meet. Buddy’s founders brought a unique combination of experience in technology and insurance to the table, but they also brought a deep love of the outdoors and a long list of situations where friends had an accident and were financially forced out of the adventures they loved.

They put their heads together and Buddy – the first on-demand accident insurance coverage – was born. Part of the MetLife Digital Accelerator that is powered by the well-known Techstars startup program, they’re poised to be a disruptive force in accident insurance for years to come. To learn more about their story and plans, I sat down with Buddy’s Director of Partnerships (and runner of ultramarathons), Casey Baum.

Hi Casey, thanks for the time. Tell us a little bit about your background and story. How did you get your start and how did you end up with Buddy?

I’ve been in the insurance industry for 10 years now. My background is with a travel insurance company where I was managing large eCommerce clients in the airline, OTA, and event space. I joined Buddy because I love our mission of helping people fearlessly lead active, outdoor lives! We are excited to provide some much needed innovation and agility to the insurance world.

Sounds like a perfect combination of your strengths and background. Talk a little bit more about Buddy’s story. How did the company get started and where did the idea come from?

Buddy was founded in 2017 because the co-founders were getting tired of contributing to their friend’s GoFundMe campaigns every time they got hurt doing fun stuff (mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, etc.). They thought there should be a better solution for this than GoFundMe, so they created the first-ever on-demand accident insurance product. Policies can be purchased for as little as a day and provide up to $50,000 in injury protection for active individuals and families.

There are other accident insurance companies out there, but what are some of the underlying problems with these products and how is Buddy designed to solve them?

Health insurance deductibles have gone through the roof over the years, and this has caused financial pain for the millions of American’s who love being active in the outdoors. Other accident insurance products have exclusions for “risky” activities like rock climbing, and you typically need to buy a policy for an entire year. Instead of locking in customers to annual plans, Buddy is able to provide coverage for as little as a day or as long as a year – or any customized term length in-between. Going hiking for the weekend? Buy a two-day policy. Going backcountry skiing for a week? Buy a weeklong policy. We protect you when you need to be protected, and not when you don’t.

What’s that one, unique thing Buddy is solving that nobody else is doing?

Buddy is the only on-demand accident insurance in the marketplace today, period. Consumers cannot buy another single-day accident insurance policy anywhere else. A policy can be purchased in 90 seconds and coverage begins immediately. You can get on the chairlift at the bottom of the mountain, pull out your phone, buy a policy, and by the time you get to the top – you have coverage for the day. We pay individuals who experience a covered loss directly, regardless of other health insurance.

As we come out of this pandemic, what has the Buddy team excited? What does the future look like?

We survived the downturn due to the pandemic and we are ready to integrate our API with some great partners. In addition to on-demand accident insurance, we recently launched a ticket cancellation product that can be used for season passes or daily lift tickets. One API integration is all you need to plug into the suite of Buddy’s insurance products. We want to be the last insurance API integration you’ll ever do.

We are also closing a Series A round very shortly and will have some exciting announcements to share!

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