RICHMOND, Va. March 24, 2021 —A joint partnership between top-rated insurtech startup Buddy (https://my.buddy.insure/) and Wherewolf (https://getwherewolf.com/), the premier digital waiver software provider, was announced today. The agreement means that adventure tourism operators offering activities like mountain biking, heli-skiing, whitewater rafting, ziplining, caving and more can now add previously unavailable medical insurance when they digitally sign their accident waivers.
As 2019’s deaths of nearly a dozen climbers at Mt. Everest demonstrated, the double-digit growth of adventure tourism is not without its risks. According to a recent survey, almost half of American adventure travelers have been injured on trips or know someone who has — and almost a third feared they were going to die. The vast majority of these injuries required medical care, but most people surveyed weren’t confident they could afford the out-of-pocket costs before their deductible was met.
Buddy is the only American company able to sell on-demand coverage in bite-sized chunks starting at less than $10, for periods as short as a day to as long as a year. It was launched to empower Americans to fearlessly lead active lives while removing the financial pain and insecurity that accompanies any unforeseen accident. This coverage provides benefits that are paid directly to a policyholder. Policyholders only pay for the coverage they need, no more. It was this novel approach that led Outside Magazine to call Buddy one of the top outdoor innovators, and for Investopedia to name it among the five best personal accident insurance companies.
“It all began when we looked around and saw more and more friends having to run GoFundMes to cover getting hurt while mountain biking, skiing or kayaking,” said Buddy’s CEO, Charles Merritt. “Our fellow outdoor enthusiasts and adventure lovers deserve to be protected while enjoying the wonders of nature, no matter where in the world they travel. Now, with Wherewolf, that protection becomes easier than ever to have.”
The on-demand accident plan provides benefit payments up to $50,000 for injuries treated by a medical professional or physical therapist, and up to and including paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and death. Plans can cover individuals, couples, families, or kids. The premium for a one-day plan starts around $9 in most states, and annual plans begin at $47 per month.
“Customers want to make the most of their time when out on adventures, and that does not mean having to deal with slow and tedious paper forms and clipboards,” said Wherewolf’s CEO, Ben Calder. “Our electronic waivers not only mean that customers get to have fun sooner, but that owners and operators can better manage their guests’ experiences, from contactless signing to personalized follow-ups. Pairing with Buddy provides that extra peace of mind.”
“In the U.S., healthcare is expensive and only getting more so. Insurance companies have tried to adapt to market and regulatory conditions, but that has only made deductibles skyrocket,” explained Merritt. “This has been made even more extreme by the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced gyms and organized recreation to shut down all over the nation. The silver lining is that more Americans are discovering the outdoors — but that brings with it added risks, even if you’re just going for a bike ride. Since Buddy’s coverage is designed to protect individuals in all kinds of uncertain situations, protecting socially distanced athletes is a natural fit, whether they’re participating in a virtual race or just a new solo activity.”
“We don’t want to detract from the critical conversations happening about race and equity in our society. Our goal is to make sure that as we choose to move our bodies for health, for recreation, and with purpose, Buddy can provide extra protection from an expensive healthcare system. We could not be more excited about becoming available to the massive number of outdoor enthusiasts in Washington, safeguarding them whether they are active in their home state or as they travel throughout the country or around the world” said Merritt.
Buddy is based in Richmond, Va., and was founded by Charles Merritt, David Vogeleer, and Jay Paul. Buddy is an alumnus of Techstars and Plug and Play accelerators, and it has been named a 2019 outdoor innovator by Outside Magazine and an insurance innovator to watch by Digital Insurance. Buddy is funded by Atypical Ventures, Sequoia Scout Fund, CIT, Techstars, and Plug and Play, as well as angel investors. For more information, call 833-462-8339; email firstname.lastname@example.org; mail P.O. Box 81, Richmond, Va. 23218-0081; or visit https://my.buddy.insure/.
Wherewolf is the leader in digital registrations and operational software for the adventure tourism industry. Based in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, New Zealand, our global team supports the success of adventure tourism operators daily. Wherewolf USA is located in Denver. For more information, visit https://getwherewolf.com/.