How did you get started in the insurance industry and what attracted you to it?
It was really a marriage of interests for me. I didn’t go to business school; I was a political science major in school. I thought I was going to have a military career or maybe I would be a lawyer or something along those lines. But insurance appealed to my interest of people in other places, other geographies and creating an avenue for me to meet those people and explore the world.
You started Trawick in 1998 and are celebrating your 25th anniversary this year. Did you ever think the company would progress and evolve into what it is today?
I don’t know that I had a vision for the company when I started it. I just knew that I enjoyed, and was really good at selling insurance, and had become disenchanted with the company I was working for at the time.
I decided that I was going to go do my own thing and created Trawick International in 1998. It started out as just me, working from the bedroom of my house, calling on colleges and universities, asking them about insurance for their international students. The company evolved slowly over the years. There were a few turning points, one being when healthcare reform came about in 2008. We didn't know if we were going to be legislated out of existence, and that was an important turning point because it was the decision that made us stop being just a student insurance provider and begin to create diversification within the company, which is something that we continue to this day.
From my perspective, we are 25 years in and using all the experience and knowledge gained over those years to really get started. There are so many opportunities ahead of us and things we want to do. It is an exciting time for the company.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
There is nothing typical about my workday. I travel quite a bit, and every day brings new travel itineraries, either here in the US or, more often lately, in Europe, along with new meetings and new opportunities. I meet with my Chief of Staff, Laurie Roberts, most days to discuss the latest initiatives and have a weekly call with my management team – I call them The Avengers, because they all have an insurance superpower – to connect with them and discuss what’s going on in all the different areas of business.
Many days I have breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings with as many calls as I can squeeze in, in-between. I am not someone who likes to sit still; I thrive on being in motion and get energised by talking to people, learning new things, and creating new partnerships or opportunities for the business. My team likes to poke fun at me for spending my downtime on LinkedIn, looking for new connections, or possibly the next hire here at Trawick or for SureGo, our in-house TPA, but it is part of what I truly enjoy about being in business – all the people I get to meet and opportunities I get to explore.
Trawick has won many awards, including the 2022 ITIJ Travel Insurance Product Innovation award and the accolade as one of Forbes’ best travel insurance companies for 2023. How important are these awards for the company and how do you keep improving?
I am proud of all the awards and accolades Trawick International has received over the years. They are a testament to all the good work being done by the team and give us that external, third-party validation that is important when potential customers or partners are looking at whom they want to buy from or work with. They aren’t everything, but they give us an edge.
I am always happy when we are mentioned in a list, like the ‘Best of Travel Insurance’ lists that online publications like Forbes Advisor, US News & World Report, Money, and Insider publish for their consumer audiences. And winning the ITIJ Award last year was, and is still, a huge accomplishment and honour. We never stop trying to improve what we offer or the service we give our customers and partners. It is not hyperbole to say we are always looking at what we can do better, what we can add or change or tweak or even remove if it no longer serves our business or consumer customers or the company’s vision. I don’t like to focus on the past and prefer to keep my eye on the future.
Attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest challenges employers now face. How is Trawick International responding?
I think over the years the company has become one that people want to be a part of. That’s one of the exciting things about where we are today and where we’ve evolved to. I think when people look at our organisation they see forward motion, moving the needle. We’ve got momentum, and we change every day, and that’s attractive to the kinds of people we want to have working here.
The culture at Trawick is one of innovation, and one of the first things I hear others say about the people at Trawick is how not only are they extremely knowledgeable about what they do, but they are passionate about it, too, and I think that makes it easier to have a conversation with someone about coming to work for Trawick.
Trawick International recently made an investment in Health Pulse Services. Why was this a good choice for you and what will they bring to the company?
Investing in Health Pulse Services is a good investment on many levels. It helps accelerate Trawick International’s growth in the UK and across multiple lines of insurance. Their business interests and innovative culture align with ours, and the affiliation is certain to be mutually beneficial, strengthening both companies’ market position in North America and the UK/European markets. I will look for more investments like this in the future.
You just recently launched a new look for Trawick International – what does this mean for the brand? And what else is in store for Trawick this year?
The new branding represents an exciting chapter in the company’s history. As the company continues to expand its product offerings and services, it’s important that our brand evolves as well. We wanted something to modernise the brand, and it was important that it worked across all the divisions of Trawick Holdings – Trawick International, SureGo Administrative Services, Tuman Global Solutions – and is scalable as we look at other partnerships. The new look better reflects our commitment to delivering innovative, high-quality insurance solutions to our customers and partners.
This year already we have launched several new travel insurance products, and have additional business lines and international insurance products coming soon. We are continuously looking to diversify our offerings and services, and for ways to better our customer and partner experiences. There is always something in the works, and while it is too soon to talk about what’s coming in the second half of this year, suffice to say there is no shortage of items on our to-do lists and announcements to come.