It’s become pretty commonplace for people to groan or roll their eyes when they hear the word insurance. But like it or not, it’s part of almost everyone’s lives. We all pay for it, but wish we didn’t need it. Just the mention of it conjures up thoughts of dense, monotonous stacks of paperwork that no one can understand. And then there’s the perception that when you really need to make a claim, it’ll take a team of lawyers on your side to collect any money. As mountain bikers, we lead a high-risk life and that makes having the right insurance coverage important. But that can be hard to find. Enter AdventureMom Insurance. They hope to change all of this with their unique approach to this dreaded necessity.
AdventureMom is relatively new to the insurance scene, and they decided to do things differently right from day one. Their goal? Cast off the stigma of traditional insurance companies by putting clients first, offer budget-friendly coverage and make the claims process easy. Best of all, their core business is accident insurance that covers mountain bikers and other adventure sports athletes. When I first heard about all of this, I thought it sounded too good to be true. So I sat down with Anne-Marie Chantal, owner of AdventureMom Insurance to find out more. What makes them different, and why?
It’s not medical insurance
Before we get into the details that make AdventureMom Insurance unique, let’s take a quick look at what they offer. There are two main types of insurance coverage one can purchase from AdventureMom: Accident and Illness.
Accident or illness insurance is not a replacement for medical insurance. It is meant to cover the costs of accident and/or illness recovery, not medical bills (if you are visiting the United States, for example). So, if you miss work because of an injury, an approved claim can be used to cover lost wages. What makes this coverage unique is that whether you miss work or not, an approved claim amount will still be paid out and you can use the money however you choose.
What do farmers and adventure sport enthusiasts have in common?
When it comes to accident insurance, it turns out they have a lot in common! In order to understand how AdventureMom Insurance is different, we need to go back to 1922. This is the year that Combined Insurance (AdventureMom’s parent company) began its quest to insure the uninsurable.
“Farmers were left behind when it comes to insurance because they are high risk,”Anne-Marie Chantal of AdventureMom Insurance
As Anne-Marie tells it, a man named W. Clement Stone, the founder of Combined Insurance, noticed a gap in the insurance field. Many insurance companies were unwilling or unable to provide farmers with accident insurance because of their lifestyle.
“Farmers were left behind when it comes to insurance because they are high risk,” notes Anne-Marie. That lifestyle was, and still is, more susceptible to accidents than many others. This, combined with the potentially volatile nature of a seasonal income, made insuring farmers against accidents at best expensive and at worst impossible. So Clement Stone “decided to create something that was fair for them and that they could afford,” she adds. And farmers were receptive.
Fast forward to the present and just like those farmers, mountain bikers and other adventure sports athletes are being left out. The nature of these lifestyles is high risk. In addition, many may have a volatile source of income, working seasonally or as a contractor.
From skeptic to salesperson
Anne-Marie wasn’t always such a proponent of this type of insurance. Like most of us, she was skeptical at first. And this allowed her to see things from a different perspective.
Her journey in insurance began as a client.
“Insurance was never something I wanted to do,” explains Anne-Marie. At a sales conference, she was approached by an agent from Combined Insurance. Once the agent found out that Anne-Marie was an avid mountain biker, she explained that she could offer a type of insurance particularly suited to that lifestyle.
Hesitantly, Anne-Marie decided to meet with the agent. As she learned more about the coverage, she became convinced of the benefits and ended up buying the coverage.
As coincidence would have it, soon after her purchase, a friend of Anne-Marie’s was paid out thousands of dollars by Combined Insurance after suffering a broken finger. This was a turning point for Anne-Marie as it became clear to her that this insurance company was different. They were ready to pay out claims, hassle-free. They would protect people when they missed work or other financial opportunities because of an accident.
“People should know about this,” thought Anne-Marie. As a mountain biker herself, she knew that many others like her could benefit from this coverage if only they knew about it. So, she went back and asked the agent if they were hiring.
Marketing to a new generation
It turns out Combined Insurance was hiring, and Ann-Marie began to work for them as a captive agent. And right from the start, she knew she wanted to do things differently.
Back In 1922, Combined Insurance used door-to-door sales to market their coverage to farmers. By the time Anne-Marie joined the team, that strategy had not changed much. She knew however, that in order to get the word out to mountain bikers she would have to modernize this approach.
“I decided to brand myself with AdventureMom Insurance,” she notes. Her son came up with the name as a play on the initials of her first name: AM (Anne-Marie). In addition, she decided that the best way to reach those in the mountain bike community would be through social media and by word of mouth, rather than door-to-door sales.
“It’s important to me that what I represent can really benefit people…it has to be genuine.”Anne-Marie Chantal of AdventureMom Insurance
When Anne-Marie started AdventureMom, she had already been a part of the mountain bike community for years. So she knew that they were a segment of the population that could benefit from affordable accident insurance coverage. But she also sees the benefit to others with a similar lifestyle: skiers, snowboarders, motorsports enthusiasts, people working with their hands such as massage therapists, and even tradespeople. How do tradespeople fit in? Like adventure sports athletes, their lifestyle is often physical and they are at higher risk for injury. Many are also self-employed, meaning they don’t have employer-provided insurance.
Anne-Marie knows that her coverage may not be for everyone, so she makes sure to sell only to people who need it.
“It’s important to me that what I represent can really benefit people…it has to be genuine,” she notes. And this shows in her approach to helping clients. She starts by finding out as much as possible about each prospective client. That way she can recommend a product that will be the best fit for their lifestyle and budget.
“I don’t like to sign up people on the first day,” admits Anne-Marie. She prefers to allow people time to digest the information she gives them and come to an informed decision.
But this dedication to clients doesn’t end once the papers are signed. In the unfortunate event that a client needs to make a claim, Anne-Marie is ready to make the process as painless as possible. She will personally take the call if a client is injured. Anne-Marie will then work with that client to complete the necessary paperwork, which she will review along with any other deliverables, before sending them off to Combined Insurance for a claim.
“Most of the time, the process is very simple when it comes to claims,” she says.
What does a fellow rider think?!
I wanted to get a rider’s opinion, so I talked with Joey Reinhart of The Flannel Crew. The Flannel Crew is a group of freeride mountain bikers based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They know mountain biking and they certainly know risk. Joey is a client of Anne-Marie’s and believes the coverage has helped him immensely.
“It’s been a real game-changer for me because I’m always pushing myself to stay on top of the game and just go bigger and go further and try to see what’s possible with mountain biking,” he says.
Joey knows the cost of injury without insurance coverage. He’s an independent contractor. Prior to signing up with AdventureMom, he broke his collarbone and was out thousands of dollars in lost wages as a result. Now he pushes himself harder and further than ever. And he attributes much of that to the peace of mind he gets from AdventureMom’s accident coverage.
“It’s definitely taken a lot of stress out of riding—you don’t have to worry at all. You just know that Anne-Marie has got your back.”Joey Reinhart of The Flannel Crew
“It’s definitely taken a lot of stress out of riding—you don’t have to worry at all. You just know that Anne-Marie has got your back,” he insists. And he adds, “I one hundred percent push myself harder because of this insurance.”
He’s so happy with choosing to be insured by AdventureMom that he aims to convince as many people as he can of the benefits. “I’m always happy to advocate for this because I’m a big fan of it myself.”
Worth its weight in gold?
I’m a mountain biker and I have had my fair share of crashes. Those crashes have never resulted in serious injury (knock on wood), but I know that this isn’t the norm. I feel extremely lucky that I have never had to miss work or other financial opportunities because of injury or illness, because I have never purchased any sort of accident insurance.
My aversion to insurance, as noted at the beginning of this article, as well as the idea of paying for something I never thought I would have to use, has kept me away from ever seeking coverage. But the more I think about it, the more it feels like I’m playing the lottery and my number just hasn’t been called yet.
As mountain bikers, we all crash—that’s a given. All we can do is hope that the consequences aren’t severe enough to disrupt our lives. Seeking out and paying for insurance might seem like a waste of time and money, but it may be worth its weight in gold if we ever really need it! At the very least, it’s worth looking into, and Anne-Marie and AdventureMom have done their best to make the process as painless as possible.
Where does AdventureMom operate?
Since its inception, AdventureMom has expanded and now has agents in both Alberta and British Columbia. For now, these two provinces are the extent of their territory. As Anne-Marie pointed out to me, insurance agents need to be present for the signing of documents. So she goes on regular road trips throughout the two provinces to meet with prospective clients. If you live in or near a centre in British Columbia or Alberta where there is a large community of mountain bikers, chances are Anne-Marie will be passing through your area at some point during the mountain bike season. If not, one of her other agents would be happy to help.
To reach Anne-Marie by phone, call 403-835-6515, or by email at [email protected]. If you’d rather catch her when she visits your area, keep an eye on the AdventureMom Instagram account, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Anne-Marie will usually announce her travel plans several weeks in advance in an effort to meet with as many potential clients as possible.