With the pandemic wreaking havoc, organizations across the globe moved to work from home otherwise known as working remotely, which helped people move out of their comfort zone and work from anywhere. Those that were part of the first wave before the pandemic started were called digital nomads and their numbers were growing exponentially each year. However, the pandemic and more remote working opportunities are making this lifestyle much more common than ever before. So, SafetyWing, headquartered in San Francisco was founded to build the first global safety net for remote companies, remote workers, and nomads worldwide. It offers medical insurance for nomads and remote companies around the world. It is also developing other insurance products such as retirement, income protection insurance, life insurance and more. Its products are built and designed by a fully remote team of nomads distributed across three continents.
Meet Lona Alia, who is a venture-backed Y Combinator Founder at StyleLend, and Head of Revenue at SafetyWing. Lona is also an advisor to start-ups and EU for innovation, remote work advocate, and expert at building fully remote teams. The avid traveller in her has taken her to more than 80 countries. She is interested in building things that people want, teams that employees want to be a part of, and companies with a mission, that is greater than making money.
As an insurance company SafetyWing provides multiple insurance services for its clients;
- Nomad Insurance: Nomad insurance is a global travel medical insurance that covers people across the planet, while outside their home country. This policy is specifically made for digital nomads. It can be purchased while already aboard, covers home trip visits, and operates as a monthly subscription.
- Remote Health: Remote health insurance is fully-fledged health insurance for those who are working as remote teams. It provides a flexible solution that no other company offers.
Through Remote health insurance, full-time nomads can stay safely abroad, no matter where they go or how long they stay.
Freedom is the biggest factor that influenced Lona. She always wanted freedom over her time and location. She wanted to be able to live the best life possible under her terms and not have to follow orders, which eventually drove Lona to start her first company.
Lona believes freedom is the only condition for happiness. And she has found that independence in the flexibility that SafetyWing affords it’s team to work from anywhere in the world.
The Best Company Culture
Lona says, “We have created the best company culture in my opinion that exists out there.” SafetyWing’s team members are happy to be given the freedom and flexibility to work from any location and most times zones that are in line with the Americas and Europe. They have the freedom to be creative and be entrepreneurial within their positions in the company.
Authenticity is one of the ingredients the organization values very highly. “Be the same on the outside as you are on the inside. Be brave enough to say what you think is true instead of what other people want to hear.”- adds Lona.
Lona Alia believes, keeping the company’s culture intact while growing rapidly is very important to the success of the company, their customers and their team members. The entire team of SafetyWing values it’s culture so dearly that every team member makes sure to have regular brainstorming sessions quarterly as a team to come up with tactical steps that are necessary to implement in order to preserve the organization’s culture.
SafetyWing currently offers 2 products to its customers. However, the organization is planning to launch at least two more services for its clients in the coming year;
- Remote Doctor: This service will help SafetyWing’s clients to consult with a doctor remotely. No matter where the clients are, they will be able to get premium medical care from the comfort of their homes.
- Remote Retirement: This is a retirement product that prepares SafetyWing’s clients for their future when they are ready to leave work.
Advice for Leaders in Organizations during the Great Resignation
When asked about suggestions for organizations on contributing to a balanced industry, Lona Alia says, “Listen to your team members the same way you listen to your customers.
Your team is creating tremendous value for your company and they should be treated with care, respect, and appreciation. Implement the things they want and you will be surprised how much your bottom line will benefit.”
Also, when it comes to advise for female entrepreneurs, Lona Alia says, “You live in the best possible time to be alive in terms of global opportunity. No matter where you come from if you have an internet connection you can learn the skills needed to get the position that you want by standing out from the crowd.” She adds, “Put a presentation together of what you can do for the company you want to work for and reach out to the hiring manager and present it. You will be surprised with how few people go above and beyond.”