Welcome to our new member – Relation Insurance Services
Interview with Jesper Tejsen Lykke, Vice President, Global Markets—Education Solutions
Tell us your story. How did Relation Insurance Services get started?
I have spent my whole career working with student travel, cultural exchange, and travel insurance. I joined Relation a few months ago to drive expansion into the in-bound cultural exchange market.
Relation Insurance Services is a leading independent insurance brokerage in the U.S. that offers a diverse portfolio of risk-management, benefits, and TPA-consulting services across a broad range of industries. Since its founding in 2007, it has grown to approximately 500 employees in 30+ offices across the U.S. As part of its growth, Relation acquired notable players and experienced firms in the student health insurance field; these companies now form our education practice, Relation Education Solutions, and bring 40+ years of combined experience tailoring student health insurance plans and solutions.
Currently, we’re serving more than 800 large public universities, small private colleges, and everything in between. Additionally, we have been providing TPA services to the exchange market for over 4 years. Our services have/are being provided to over 50 exchange organizations serving nearly 50,000 participants.
What makes Relation Insurance Services different from your competitors?
The word “partnership” is often bandied about, but I believe in the true power of partnership and thus use the word very intentionally. Relation builds strong and effective relationships that become partnerships. Acting in the capacity of both broker and TPA services provider means that we can help our client partners and the plan participants every step of the way. If a partner has a question or a participant needs assistance, we are there to assist.
We also continue to grow and strengthen; Insurance Journal lists us in the top 40 independent insurance brokerages in the U.S (based on revenue). We like to say that we are “big enough to matter and small enough to care.” Our size affords us the resources—such as custom, in-house technology—to be efficient and develop capabilities that can help meet our clients’ needs and reduce their administrative burden.
How does Relation Insurance Services help its clients work more effectively?
Our clients have a top-notch account management team that regularly reviews claims data with them. We want our partners to fully understand their plan’s utilization and be able to make business decisions based on hard data to better manage their health plan and better focus on the program enjoyment of participants.
Claims data can often be overwhelming, however, so we help them decipher the data in order to identify any trouble areas that must be addressed, such as participant activities or utilization behaviours. We also help identify trends that will influence important decisions about the plan, such as the changing of a benefit offering so our partners can anticipate and prepare for any potential plan increases that may result the following year.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
I don’t know that any story about someone in need of medical services can be deemed my “favourite,” but I want to share a situation where Relation was able to assist when a global exchange participant studying in the U.S. experienced mental health issues.
We work with one of the largest exchange organizations in the country. A couple of years ago, a participant called our customer service department to report that he was having suicidal thoughts and was afraid he was going to hurt himself. The claims service representative who took the call offered to call 911 on his behalf, but the participant declined, saying he would find transportation. We reported the situation to the organization and they were able to locate the participant, intervening to get him the care he needed.
We care deeply about helping exchange participants stay safe and healthy, and we know the difference that responsive and caring service can make. We are grateful that we were able to help the participant in this case get the care they needed and assist in preventing what might have been a far more serious situation.
What can we expect to see from Relation Insurance Services in the future?
In the near term, we are introducing ourselves to the cultural exchange and language school community. We are rolling out a new website, reaching out to program leaders and administrators, attending WYSTC in Lisbon, and getting the word out that we are a one-stop quality shop with customizable solutions.
In the longer term, we will work closely with partners—domestic and international alike—to optimize the value that they get from their insurance dollars. Relation has grown to what it is today because of our commitment to our partners and the understanding that one size doesn’t fit all.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Relation Insurance Services?
Our commitment is to help our clients and their participants lead safer and healthier lives. We consult with our partners to find the most appropriate balance between quality and affordability for their participants; source and help broker the partner’s plan; help educate travellers about how to access care and navigate the U.S. insurance process; and provide attentive service to get people back to their programs as quickly as possible after a claim.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
Actually, I have a 30+ year history with what is today the WYSE Travel Confederation, dating all the way back to participating in annual conferences by FIYTO and tradeshows by ISTC.
When my path took me back into the world of student travel, it was a top priority for me that Relation joined WYSTC. I am very excited to introduce Relation to old and new friends in the community since I believe we are uniquely qualified to serve them.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? (WYSTC, STAY WYSE, WYSE Exchange Australia, WETM-IAC) If so, what was your experience with the event?
WYSTC in Lisbon will be my 19th WYSE Travel Confederation conference! I attended the first-ever WYSTC conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and have also been a delegate at a couple of WETM-IAC events over the years.
I always find these events to be full of useful conversations and connections—and great people. A large share of my truly great friendships over the years have been made with student travel people in general, and especially with WYSE Travel Confederation members.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
For many years, travel medical insurance was viewed as a necessary evil—a mandatory cost of doing business with a direct impact on price in a highly competitive market. The drive to become and remain competitive led to a situation where companies and brokers alike were constantly shopping on price, leading to a devaluation of service and stability.
The good news for everybody in this industry is that the tide seems to be turning in many cases, and established insurance companies have begun once again to show an interest in this market segment, where stability is highly needed by all, and where Relation will therefore have a role to play!
In a world of increasing complexity, close client relationships and strategic carrier partnerships are only part of the insurance experience. Clients need brokers who stay ahead of the curve, provide intelligent, tailored solutions backed by extensive experience, and apply technology and data to drive efficiency, innovation, and a competitive edge. We are, and have always been, the ones our clients can count on to bring it all together for them through our relationships and connections. In the last several years, we’ve invested a lot in people, processes, and technology to help us even better connect the dots for them.
We believe your business is stronger and more secure when your insurance experience works well in relation to the rest of your world. Our new name embodies that approach, so we’re putting it front and center on everything we do.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Service Provider Member
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