How Faye’s Elad Schaffer Has Completely Turned the Travel Insurance Industry Upside-Down

Photo Credited to Faye

For many years, travel insurance has simply been an afterthought. Though consumers intellectually clocked it as a good idea they knew they should buy, it wasn’t really top of mind for most until things went wrong, resulting in those impacted learning it was essential for future adventures. 

But with cancellations and emergency medical scenarios that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, travel coverage and care to protect the financial investment of travel became more top of mind.

That said, the manner in which travelers protect themselves, unfortunately, hasn’t changed much. Most consumers are purchasing old-school, jargon-filled policies and expect headaches when filing a claim, let alone getting their money back. That’s no surprise considering many travel insurance companies haven’t invested in making their policies more human-friendly, proactive or approachable.

Enter Faye

This gap between legacy travel insurance and consumers’ real needs resulted in Faye. Founded by serial entrepreneurs and self-proclaimed “travel geeks” Elad Schaffer (CEO) and Daniel Green (CTO), Faye’s travel protection and 24/7 assistance is actively turning this industry upside-down.

The duo has tackled the pain points of this space, leaning on comprehensive data-sets and technology to make Faye’s offering easy to understand, simple to use and in many cases, instant. 

Schaffer argues that he and Green view the role of travel insurance fundamentally different from other providers. “Travel insurance must grow beyond being a slow claims reimbursement service,” he notes. “It should be your protector and companion, there to help you solve travel problems at the time, not just help you pay for them after the fact. We built Faye to look after travelers holistically, with four pillars in mind: insurance, assistance, intelligence and finance.”

Building a Travel Startup (During a Time of No Foreseeable Travel)

But how did Faye come to be?

Schaffer, 38, is a long-time traveler who has visited dozens of countries. He co-founded his first startup when he was 25, building data models and collaboration platforms for predicting geopolitical and economic instabilities. “I was always intrigued by how we can use technology to solve what might seem like either boring, mundane or manual problems.” When his first startup reached profitability, he retired as CEO and went to build Faye, along with his cofounder Green.

Schaffer grew up abroad, where travel insurance is much more baked into the trip planning process as compared to the U.S. This largely untapped market, ripe for innovation and growth on the heels of the pandemic, is where Schaffer placed his focus.

However, despite previously building a prediction platform, Schaffer couldn’t forecast that as he was imagining a new way to travel, the world would be hit by COVID.

“Faye was born during the pandemic, and in part because of the pandemic. We realized travel is no longer a luxury, but part of our wellbeing and sense of self. We also understood just how complicated and anxiety-filled it can be. And though many said we were crazy to build a travel startup at a time of zero foreseeable travel, we kept going.”

Landing On Faye

Schaffer and Green launched Faye for the U.S. in early 2022, having worked on building their team and product for a year. “We want to change how people think of insurance and have put in a lot of attention to detail to do so,” he says.

The Faye team removed jargon from their policies, made travel assistance available 24/7 to not only provide aid in emergencies but also to help solve common travel hiccups and created an app that connects millions of data points behind the scenes to provide real-time alerts on your travel itinerary — all delivered straight to users’ phone.

As Schaffer explains, “The Faye app means that with the smartphone you already take everywhere, you can protect your trips, file claims, receive important destination-specific info, and even be reimbursed directly to your phone thanks to the Faye Wallet. The Faye Wallet is a secure digital debit card that enables travelers to instantly receive money on approved claims and common inconveniences, and use those funds in-destination, just like using Google Wallet or Apple Wallet.”

Growth (and Even More Disruption to Come)

As Faye has grown in popularity, so has its product and its partnerships. It added instant telemedicine access, a portal for travel advisors and partners, Extreme Sports coverage and more in the last year alone. In addition, the company took home a Skift product award, was named a top travel insurance provider by The Wall Street Journal and landed on LinkedIn’s Top 10 Startups On the Rise list — all while garnering consistent five-star reviews online.

Faye doesn’t disclose its revenue, but Schaffer revealed it has grown much faster than the team projected, with 2023 already garnering five times the revenue of 2022.

“High growth is obviously important, but it must also be healthy.”

Having previously bootstrapped a startup into a profitable company, Elad notes that “Faye is still in its early days, and the opportunity in front of us is massive. We are building a product for where travel meets fintech. As such, we plan to be every traveler’s go-to for all their needs post-booking, from insurance and travel arrangements to financial services — all centered around the premise of looking after them when they’re on the road.”

When asked what success looks like, Schaffer answered, “Faye will be as essential to your trip as your passport and credit card are today.” With its already notable impact on the travel insurance industry, Faye seems poised to achieve this lofty goal.


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