Quick Q&A: Elizabeth Soley, Jacob Street Partners

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• Can you give us a condensed version of your career history?

"As the child of a transferee, I moved around quite a bit growing up.  There wasn't much corporate housing back in those days, so most of the time we stayed in hotels.  One of the worst experiences I recall was living in a small suite for three months with my parents. I slept on the sofa bed and my breakfast every morning before school had to be delivered by room service."

"When I applied for my first job in the corporate housing industry, I felt such a kinship because of those memories. If back then my family had furnished accommodations instead of a hotel, our transitions would have been much easier, so I wanted to make sure that other people had a better time of it than we did." 

"In 2010 I founded Jacob Street Partners because I saw a need to simplify insurance for the mobility industry.  My heart has always been in the corporate housing sector and it was one of my first priorities to design an insurance product that helped mitigate risk for both the serviced apartment company and their guest. We created an insurance product that was convenient and covered the needs of those staying in short term housing, and we're very excited that our solution is so well received by the industry."

• How does Jacob Street work specifically with serviced apartment providers, and who are you working with?

"We work with many relocation management companies, serviced apartment providers, and a few corporate clients. Short Term Secure - our temporary accommodation insurance product - was created because of conversations that I had with some friends in the industry. There simply wasn't an insurance product out there that was designed for the needs of the serviced apartment industry.  We work with housing providers to insure their furnished accommodations in 180 countries around the world.  The provider likes our insurance because they have a risk mitigation plan in place to help them when an incident occurs and protects them from reputational risks. Their clients like it because they know that their employees are protected and can focus on the job at hand."

• Have you seen a rise in business travellers who you cover staying in serviced apartments/extended stay hotels/aparthotels etc?

"We are not exposed to that information, as our clients share with us the guests' contact information but not the type of stay. That being said, we see stays as short as a couple of days and as long as a year. We also work with serviced apartment aggregators who focus on growing the business travellers market. I am sure there is an increase overall to the industry, but we are not privy to the type of stay we insure."

• What impact are the likes of Airbnb having on business travel, particularly with reference to insurance and perceived risk? Are you seeing more business travellers going down this route?

"We insure almost any type of stay that our client arranges for the guest. It could be in traditional serviced accommodations, a wholesale unit from another provider, hotel stays, or an Airbnb type unit."

• What are Jacob Street's plans and targets for the serviced apartment sector over the short- and medium-term?

"Jacob Street is developing new insurance solutions for the corporate housing industry; these are designed to draw more temporary assignment stays and shorter-term guests and provide more freedom for the guest - stay tuned!"


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