23 Apr 2012
David Deverson lives in the middle-of-nowhere's center-of-the-universe, Ely Cambridgeshire, UK, where he runs the Globelink International Travel Insurance Consultants Ltd. Company — an independent insurance agency/brokerage serving the insurance needs of the travel community. Enough people have gone through the web that the travel insurance company isn't a secret, but I was curious about some of the behind-the-scenes magic, so I asked David a few questions.
Tell us something about yourself. What were you doing before starting Globelink International Travel Insurance Ltd.?
— With a career of 47 years in the insurance business and frustrated by insurers general inflexibility to change and new ideas, in 1996 I decided to try to do something about it myself.
They say sometimes people start businesses when they want to improve or fill a gap in a certain area. What or who has inspired you to found a travel insurance company?
— Back in 1996, it was very difficult and extremely expensive for a young person to get a decent travel insurance policy for backpacking their way around the world. Also, there were a large number of young Australians and New Zealanders who were living and working in UK cities but were finding it extremely difficult to find a British insurer to provide them with travel insurance cover.
Did you have a clear strategy plan before you started Globelink?
— Our initial strategy was to design a travel insurance policy suitable for these people and to convince an underwriter that they should support this project. That was the beginning of the Globetrekkers policy which of course is now a well known brand which gives protections to 1000s of backpackers traveling all over the world.
What further developments have you made since the early days of Globelink?
— We have identified other situations where most other travel insurers do not or cannot offer suitable cover. For example, people who are traveling without travel insurance, because their original insurance has expired or they simply forgot to arrange cover. People with pre-existing medical conditions. People aged over 70, or living outside UK. Globelink have made it their business to provide these travelers with decent cover at a reasonable price.
What are the most significant advantages offered by Globelink that other travel insurance companies don't offer?
— Having established Globetrekkers as a marker leader for the young traveler, we directed our attention to other people who were finding it difficult to get a decent travel insurance policy. For example, older age groups, people with pre-existing medical conditions, people living outside UK, hazardous sports, people working overseas. We launched policies specifically for these people under the Globelink banner and are still adding to the range. Many insurers have attempted to copy our lead, but Globelink still remain the market leader for these specially designed travel insurance policies.
According to your personal experience what are the biggest dangers travellers should be prepared for?
— There are the obvious dangers of pickpockets and general distraction theft that happen everywhere in the world, particularly in busy places such as bus, train and ferry terminals, markets and anywhere there are crowds. There are a surprisingly high number of claims involving drinks that have been spiked. People need to be particularly careful what and where they eat as there are many cases of food poisoning. Use of insect repellent and sun screen should not be underestimated.
Do you remember your first client?
— Yes I do, they are a couple living in Hertfordshire. They are still insured with us and renew their annual multi trip policy every year.
What is the most frequent bought travel insurance policy?
— Without any doubt it is our Worldwide Annual Multi Trip policy.
Could you advice as an expert what is the most economic/money-saving/profitable policy?
— That’s a difficult one! It really depends upon what you want to be insured for. An “Economy” policy with pay for Emergency Medical treatment and the cost of getting you home once you are fit enough to travel, but it will not give you cover for lost baggage. Most people will choose between our “Regular” or our “Comprehensive” policies.
Do Globelink have any bonuses/special offers for returning/dedicated customers?
— We are always doing our very best to keep the premiums as low as we can. You should look out for our “special offers” and competitions in our newsletter
Are there any privileges for seniors, students, etc.?
— We have particular policies for various groups. For example, our Globetrekkers policies are particularly aims at young travellers including students taking a gap year or working their way around the world. For our senior clients, we have our 66+ and 71+ Annual and Single Trip policies.
What are the most frequent questions you get from customers?
— Undoubtedly, the most frequently asked questions are about pre-existing medical conditions. Other FAQs are about Hazardous Pursuits, Sporting Activities, Working Abroad, extra cover for high value items and Repatriation.
If you have to back at the beginning, what was the main goal Globelink.co.uk was designed to accomplish and where is the company now in this frame?
— Well if we went back to 1996, our main goal was of course to advertise ourselves in order to bring our specialist policies to the attention of the traveller. This of course was in the very early days of the internet and ours was one of the very first travel insurance products to be available online. We have constantly developed our business and embraced new technology to ensure that our website makes it so easy to obtain a quotation, compare our policies and arrange instant cover within just a few minutes. Policy documents including the credit card sized emergency assistance slip are available immediately online and also delivered by email.
During difficult periods or situations in your business how did you motivate yourself to move on?
— You have to rise to a challenge, you have to have a decent product and you have to completely believe in what you are doing. Then the motivation is easy. But you should always be asking yourself “How can we do things even better”
What is the question you would like to answer and still nobody asked you?
— Why after 47 years in the travel insurance industry are you still so passionate about what you do? The simple answer is “I enjoy it”.
Read also: Interview with Globelink Director