Fleri Makes It Easy for Immigrants to Care for Family Back Home
Fleri founder Sam Baddoo grew up in Ghana. After high school, he attended college in Morocco on a United Nations scholarship. While earning his degree in Economics and learning two more languages, Arabic and French, Baddoo worked as a volunteer with an organization supporting stranded sub-Saharan immigrants in North Africa.
That experience—seeing first-hand the challenges that face many immigrants who leave their home countries for a chance at a better life for themselves and their loved ones back home—stuck with him. So much so that when Sam Baddoo moved to the United States, he founded Fleri, a cross-border insurance marketplace for immigrants who need a way to provide healthcare for dependent family members in Africa.
Learn more about Fleri at https://joinfleri.com. Read more about Fleri Founder Sam Baddoo at https://www.builtinafrica.io/blog-post/sam-baddoo-fleri.
Fleri Reduces Out-of-Pocket Costs By Expanding the Health Insurance Marketplace
Even though reputable health insurance coverage is available in many parts of Africa, people can’t afford to buy it.
“The insurance penetration rate is less than 3 percent in Africa, and health insurance penetration is even less,” Baddoo said. “Annual Health Insurance premiums are required by law in most countries to be paid in advance. More than 85 percent of the people living in Africa work in the informal sector. They do not have a predictable or much disposable income. When you don’t have money, it’s hard to take the bet of paying for an insurance policy for something that might happen in the future.”
Fleri provides a secure and affordable way for immigrants in the United States to compare and buy health insurance for their family members in Africa. “The principles of insurance are the same,” Baddoo said.
“Our focus is on private health insurance,” Baddoo said. “We bring convenience to immigrants when it comes to protecting the health of people they love back home. Fleri is peace of mind and financial security for the millions of Africans living in the diaspora. They previously had to rush to a Western Union or MoneyGram and deal with fees and exchange rates to send remittance for a health emergency.”
Fleri partners with insurance companies in African countries to provide a range of insurance plans for individuals, families, and seniors.
“An immigrant in the States who wants to provide health insurance for his 70-year-old mother or grandmother in Nigeria can pay a sustainable premium. Your grandmother receives an id card that allows her to walk into a healthcare provider to receive the care she needs,” he said.
The insurance company underwrites the risk and provides access to the in-country provider network that beneficiaries go to. With Fleri, insurance companies are changing where they make money—abroad instead of in Africa while increasing the number of people in Africa, gaining access to quality healthcare.
“These are insurers that do business in emerging economies,” Baddoo said. “They have the opportunity to provide insurance for millions while having a different set of people paying the premiums—people who have a greater capacity to buy, a better understanding of how insurance works, and a greater affinity for the people they are purchasing insurance for.”
For insurers, increasing the risk pool by adding thousands of new policyholders makes their businesses more sound. “Fleri as a lead generation and customer acquisition partner, helps them achieve that,” Baddoo said.
Understanding Fleri Customers and How They Care for Their Families
Fleri is not Baddoo’s first entrepreneurial venture. When he returned to Ghana, he built a social enterprise with friends before starting two other companies. Then he immigrated to the United States, where he has lived for the past six years, balancing an entrepreneurial life with a military career in the U.S. Army Reserves. Earlier this year, when his grandmother became ill, Baddoo lived the problem that Fleri solves for its customers.
“The problem chooses you,” he said. “My grandmother had four kids in the U.S. who would have given anything to make sure she could get well and stay alive. While this experience was painful, it is not unique. It highlights the loss that many Africans in the diaspora have experienced because there wasn’t a better way to manage a loved one’s healthcare.”
Columbus’s Backyard Effect Continues
Baddoo says he is amazed by all the doors that have opened for Fleri in Columbus.
“When I made the decision to move to Ohio, I had an uncle here but I really didn’t know anyone. There is an authenticity with relationships here that pay off in ways you wouldn’t believe. I have come to appreciate that the relationships and network you develop will carry you way further than any skill or ability.”
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