2003 was a big year for the internet. It was the year Myspace launched, introducing many people to social media for the first time and helping to shape the way people stay in touch. DocuSign also launched, allowing people to sign agreements online and helping to transform business. It was also the year Gadi Binness founded Relocation Insurance Group, allowing people to buy online moving insurance for the first time.
This year, RIG celebrates its 20th anniversary. The milestone marks 20 years of changing the way people buy moving insurance – and the work isn’t done. RIG continues to innovate moving insurance with new delivery methods and cutting-edge technology.
The State of the Internet in 2003
The U.S. Census Bureau says that only 59.5% of people aged 18 and older were using the internet in 2003, and only 54.7% of households had internet access at home. Things have changed in the years since then. In 2021, Pew Research Center says that only 7% of U.S. adults said they never went online, while 85% go online daily and 31% say they’re online almost constantly.
But back in 2003, the internet was still fairly new, and although more and more people were starting to use it for everything from school and work to gaming and socialization, the true potential of the World Wide Web had not yet been realized.
In the early 2000s, Gadi was working at Moving.com as the Vice President of Business Development. At the time, insurance was only available via phone and fax, and Gadi saw that there was an untapped opportunity. “That’s when I connected the dots between moving, insurance need and the internet,” Gadi says. The internet was just gaining speed, and he wanted to seize the moment.
The Early Days
“Starting the business was overwhelming,” Gadi admits. He was experienced in the moving industry, but he wasn’t experienced in insurance. Because he was embarking on something new, there was a lot of work to be done. “The first task was to create the application for insurance. The second was to program it into a usable online program.”
He bootstrapped the new business launch, using his personal savings and with the help of friends and family. After one failed attempt, he earned his insurance license. He also hired his first employee, Steve Yahn, to tackle sales and business development.
On January 13, 2004, he sold his first policy. In fact, he sold three that day, and he sold a fourth the next day.
Challenges and Growth
In 2004, Moving Insurance, LLC, via its portal, movinginsurance.com sold 2,451 policies and made $600,000 in gross revenue. It was a great first year! Gadi hired Geoff Stanton to handle tech in-house – before that, technology had been outsourced to a third party. He also opened the company’s first office. In 2005, he started offering insurance internationally. Over the following years, he worked on adding additional programs for storage, logistics and mobile storage insurance. By the end of 2005, RIG had about half a dozen employees.
Gadi had tapped into a need, but success required relationships with both moving companies and insurance carriers. The former proved easier than the latter. Gadi already had contacts at several moving companies, including NorthStar Moving Company, Shleppers Moving & Storage and Moishe’s Moving Systems, so he went there first. By the end of the first year, he had 27 active affiliates throughout the U.S.
But insurance carriers weren’t used to online moving insurance. “There weren’t existing insurance programs for online moving insurance,” Gadi says. As a result, finding carrier partners wasn’t easy, and for the first 10 years or so, it was a real threat to the business.
Gadi didn’t give up. It took work, but he found partners. Frank (Skip) Limoges and the rest of the team at Inter Trans Insurance was the first insurance broker for RIG, and they helped RIG learn a lot about the insurance side of business. Frank Costa, now at World Insurance Associates, was another insurance broker who took RIG under his wing.
A Magnificent Team
Today, the RIG team is stronger than ever. The “original” Geoff Stanton is still leading technology, while many others have joined in the years since.
All RIG team members work remotely from their homes around the country – an arrangement that was already in place and working beautifully before COVID hit.
Customer Service/Sales Representative, Ethan Binness describes the working environment as fair, supportive and competitive.
Claims Manager, Jeff Harrison finds the work environment to be innovative and engaging. “We are a small company, and each department works together. Management cares about the employees, their work-life balance, and their opinions and ideas,” he says.
Customer Service Manager, Amanda Loyd also feels very supported at RIG. When she required surgery last summer, her dad reported that he had discovered a “porch-full of food” at her house. “The company had sent a bunch of sandwiches, soups and salads so that I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking as I recovered. It was very thoughtful and a perfect example of how we all rally around each other to celebrate personal and professional successes and lift each other up when we need it,” she says.
Gadi is the ever-optimistic leader and the glue that holds everyone together. His mantra is “Think outside the block” (not box) – which he explains is thinking outside whatever it is that blocks us and doesn’t allow us to dream, innovate or push our boundaries, and he pushes everyone to do so every day.
Learning from the Past and Moving Forward
Gadi admits that he’s made some mistakes along the way, like not updating the website and technology fast enough to keep up with a rapidly changing world. At the same time, he is proud that he managed to create a business from nothing in a vertical that didn’t exist before. He’s also extremely proud of his “magnificent team” and all the great relationships he shares with industry affiliates and colleagues.
Over the years, technology has taken on a bigger role, and the moving insurance industry has switched from fax submissions to online submissions. Now Gadi has set his sights on the next big frontier: Embedded Insurance. “Embedded Insurance will make it even easier for consumers to obtain insurance without a lot of hassle and effort,” Gadi says.
Join us in celebrating the success of Relocation Insurance Group. The last 20 years have been great, and the future looks equally bright.