Vision to Venture: Narendra Khatri, the man behind InsubuyThis is the heading
Narendra Khatri (Pilani ‘91) is the co-founder and Principal of Insubuy LLC, an online travel insurance marketplace based in Plano, Texas USA. He started Insubuy in 2000 due to a growing need for proper insurance solutions for visitors to the USA that was not being met by existing travel insurance providers. By leveraging his technology background, he was able to create the industry’s first online travel insurance marketplace and grow a successful company from the ground up that has continued to lead the travel insurance industry for more than 23 years.
Can you talk briefly about your journey since BITS?
After BITS, I worked as a software engineer for Texas Instruments in Bangalore for two years, followed by working for various other software companies in the US over the next several years. In 1997, I moved to the United States as a Software Engineer with my wife, looking for a better future for our family. After a visit from my parents in 2000, I was inspired to change careers and start Insubuy.
What exactly inspired you to establish Insubuy?
When my parents visited my family in the US in 2000 my father fell gravely ill, and the travel insurance he had purchased in India wasn’t providing any meaningful assistance or service for him. Though I was able to send my parents back home for proper treatment, I realized this may not be possible for everyone, and I saw an important need for travel insurance designed to serve visitors to the United States.
I made the decision to leave my lucrative software career to help others avoid the suffering my family had endured, and create a company that could provide US-based travel insurance solutions that are better suited for USA visitors. I view this as more than just a business, but truly a mission to serve the community.
Can you discuss some of the challenges you've faced in growing Insubuy?
Ours was the definition of a startup company. We began our business in our apartment in Virginia, building our website and all of our technology ourselves, while also handling every other aspect of travel insurance sales, running a business, and hiring and managing employees. As such, in the industry we were developing, there was no blueprint or roadmap in place on how to do this. We developed and built our own online marketplace, our own intranet to manage business flow and our own custom applications. Doing all of this in-house has been more challenging, but it allowed us to tailor our technology to our exact business needs, and stay at the forefront of industry trends.
What are your thoughts on the role of technology in the insurance industry?
Like all industries, the travel insurance industry has seen explosive growth in e-commerce over the past 20 years. Ours was the first online travel insurance marketplace back in 2002, but today that sort of seamless online experience is something customers expect, and what we develop is something our competitors will continue to try to emulate. It is for this reason that you must continuously innovate. We must anticipate and stay on top of online purchase trends, and develop technology solutions that can help us continue to succeed. This is one of the reasons that we’ve had our own in-house IT department for over a decade. Even now, we are developing custom technology solutions that will make our company more efficient, and make for a better experience for our customers.
What is your opinion of BITS and its impact on the industry?
BITS supports the overall development of the individual and helps them develop a full-circle skillset to prepare them for professional success.
Do you have any advice for current BITS students?
No matter what your current or future goals are, put 100% into what you do. Develop workable solutions to real problems, and view mistakes as learning experiences. In your professional life, always put your customer’s interests before your own. Take the time to establish trust and go the extra mile. Be willing to demonstrate that you want to do more than just earn a paycheck. Endeavor to be excellent in what you do, and success will follow.
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