Blue Ribbon Bags – Interview with CEO Gabriel Menkin on Baggage Insurance
Many of us have endured the inconvenience of lost bags when travelling. Having to go out and repurchase clothing and personal necessities can be a costly exercise, an unforeseen hassle that no one wants to endure on a holiday or business trip. Until now we only had luck on our side when it comes to recouping these costs through convoluted travel insurance policies and disinterested airlines. If only there was a straight forward, easy to understand alternative out there.
So when I read about this new world-wide baggage travel insurance product for $5 my interest was immediately peaked. Admittedly, when first reading about this baggage insurance product, I was a bit skeptical. It just couldn’t be as simple and as straight forward as it sounded – could it?
It goes something like this. Pay $5 and if the airline loses your bag, Blue Ribbon Bags will reimburse the traveler with a $1,000 cheque if the bag is still missing on day five – that’s it. So I reached out to Blue Ribbon Bags CEO Gabriel Menkin and asked some straight forward questions. I mean this is insurance right? Nothing is easy with insurance….well I stand corrected.
The basics of Blue Ribbon Bags is you insure your bag for $5 (all amounts are in USD) and if the airline loses your bag and it’s not found by day five, they will send you a cheque for $1,000. Even if the airline delivers your bag to you on day five, they will still send you $1,000. In fact there slogan is Baggage Protection Made Simple and is core to their product.This short video describes how it works.
Here is my conversation with CEO Gabriel Mankin on Friday 25 April.
Q: How did Blue Ribbon Bags start? Where did the idea come from?
A: Actually the idea came from my partner who, a number of years ago, lost his bag on the way to an industry trade show. After a ton of very tedious back and forth with the airline, and one of the more painful experiences of his life, he contacted me with what he thought would be a great solution to the awful problem of trying to get baggage insurance for a decent price while also getting sufficiently paid for lost luggage.
Q: Wow, to lose luggage on the way to an industry show can cost a lot of money in potential sales. This is almost insurance coverage for both personal and business losses. Regardless if I had my underwear or business samples in my suitcase?
A: Yes! Blue Ribbon Bags is a guaranteed payment, with a guaranteed amount of money, regardless of how much or what was in your suitcase.
Q: I love the simplicity of it all which is rare for insurance companies. Is it really as simple as receiving a cheque in the mail on day five of your bag being lost? Even if the bag turns up on day five?
A: Exactly right. The only way to make someone happy, and separate ourselves from all the other insurances available, with a process like this is to keep it as simple as possible. We have kept this process simple, from the purchase to the money collection. If your bag isn’t in your hand within four days of your flight landing, Blue Ribbon Bags will send you a check on the fifth day, no matter what. If your money and bags show up on day 5, you get to keep them both!
Q: OK, with all due respect, what’s the catch, we are talking insurance here?
A: That’s my favourite question. There really is no catch or fine print. Every purchase is per person, per round trip or one way ticket regardless of the number of connections. The only “catch” might be that we charge per person, per airline confirmation number. So if you purchased two one-way tickets on two separate airlines, as opposed to one round trip ticket on one airline, you will have to make two separate purchases to cover both flights. That’s how we monitor which flights the service has been purchased for. Generally we do not run into this situation all that often.
Q: So to confirm $5 will cover one bag for a one way or round trip flight, regardless if it’s a connecting flight or not?
A: Yes, as long as the flights are all under one airline confirmation number, you will be covered under one purchase. Our policy actually covers all your bags, but pays out for up to two lost bags per person.
Q: So if I understand correct, I have an upcoming trip which has 6 flights over three weeks. They are all booked under one reservation number so it’s still only $5 to cover my bag for all these flights?
A: Yes! That is correct. I know you Aussies love to travel so no matter how many flights you have booked, as long as they are under one airline reservation number it’s still only $5.
Q: So we can use Blue Ribbon Bags even though we live in Australia?
A: Blue Ribbon Bags covers every flight, everywhere in the world. If you don’t see your airline on our list, just email us at email@example.com and it will be added right away. Our emails are being monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is the same price for everyone, everywhere in the world, no matter what. Don’t forget that we have 3 levels of coverage ($5 pays $1000, $7.50 pays $1500 and $10 pays $2000). The $5 is per person, and the $1,000 is per bag, so the traveller is really getting the better end of this deal in every way.
Q: And does travel need to be to or via the United States or can I use Blue Ribbon Bags for a domestic flight within Australia? Say Brisbane to Sydney?
A: Every flight, everywhere in the world. Nothing needs to be via the USA.
Q: That’s fantastic news! And for our Australian and other international readers, if we were to lose a bag and we were eligible for payment, is that payment in USD or local currency?
A: The payment always comes in USD, which keeps it easy to send cheques without having to convert to local currencies.
Q: Thanks for speaking with us Gabriel. This is a great product and we will be purchasing for our next trip.
A: With pleasure, thanks so much for the opportunity to get our product out to Australia!
Baggage Insurance cost
There are currently three types of coverage as per below from Blue Ribbon Bags. Note all prices are in USD.
So regardless if your travels are Sydney to Melbourne, Singapore to Tokyo, London to Rome or Los Angeles to Las Vegas, this product is available for a small fee of $5. Head over to the Blue Ribbon Bags website and happy flying.