About Buddy

Buddy’s three founders come from different backgrounds in marketing, technology, and insurance, but share the same love of the great outdoors. When they started noticing some of their friends getting out there less often, or worse, selling some of their gear, they asked why. Apparently getting into even a small accident can be expensive.

Since 2011, out-of-pocket costs for healthcare have sky-rocketed. There were a few ways to help offset that financial pain, but none that fit an active lifestyle or that felt modern. When you can deposit a check into your bank with a picture, but have to wait days to talk to someone on the phone to get insurance, something needed to change.

So Charles, Jay, and David started Buddy to create the world’s first and only on-demand accident insurance. All benefits are paid directly to the consumer so they can spend it how they see fit. A day of coverage costs less than a burrito. And you can get covered in less than 3 minutes today.

Buddy’s mission is simple, to help people fearlessly enjoy an active and outdoor life.


Casey Baum

Director of Partnerships

I enjoy collaborating with partners to understand their business and offer great customer value. Buddy certainly gives me that opportunity! In addition to my two daughters keeping me busy - I'm known for crafting delicious BBQ, dusting off the ol' guitar, and running in ultramarathons in support of my nonprofit.

Cezar Carvalhaes


I’m a homebrewing, wrestling coaching, DIY-ing, web-developing, history and geography nerd. I’m a pretty eclectic dude with a background in education (chemistry), anthropology and philosophy. I like to do a lot of fun stuff too, such as trail-running, lifting and jumping in rivers.

Chris Dickey

Strategic Advisor

A perfect day for Chris starts with hot coffee by the campfire, a robust day of outdoor adventure, ending with bourbon under the stars. Professionally, Chris’s entire career has been about data, uncovering insights, analyzing trends and optimizing.

Nick Green

Business Development Specialist

I've always had a passion for meeting new people and trying new things––particularly when it involves getting outside and enjoying mother nature. At Buddy, I use that drive to cultivate relationships that enable others to pursue their own outdoor interests. In my free time, you'll find me satisfying my adventurous itch by snowboarding, biking, or climbing my way around the Virginias.

Charles Merritt

Co-Founder, CEO

Mom always knew I'd had a good time when I came home covered in dirt. The same energy to play and adventure now fuels my passion for what we're building at Buddy. I love using the tools of technology and storytelling to enable others to be fearless.

Jay Paul

Co-Founder, Head of Business Development

Through Buddy, I have found a way to combine my passion for the great outdoors with my 25+ years in the insurance industry. When not working, I can be found paddling white water, mountain/road cycling, climbing, or just about anything where I can push myself into the wilds of the world.

David Vogeleer

Co-Founder, Head of Technology

I've never met a problem I couldn’t fix with a node script. I've published multiple books on programming and won 12 Cannes Lions for creative work. I was the second fastest gun in the west, and I remain undefeated to this day in thumb wrestling!


The Next-Gen Outdoor Innovations We're Watching

Outside Magazine

November 1, 2019Dean KingSooner or later, most outdoor enthusiasts encounter a pitch too steep, a bend too tight, or an immovable object on the trail, and then it’s ass-over-elbows. But now there’s backup: Buddy, an on-demand insurance policy...Read more.

This Adventure Insurance Is Good News for Risk-Takers

Outside Magazine

July 8, 2019Dean KingThat means your benefits can be used for any out-of-pocket expenses you’ve incurred, like replacing damaged gear, changing travel plans, covering missed work or your health-insurance deductible, or helping with childcare...Read more.

Should you buy backpacking insurance?


June 5, 2019Monica CardozaCharles Merritt was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he got word that he’d been accepted into the graduate business program at VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia. With 700 miles under his belt, he left the trail, and had his brother... Read more.

New program offering insurance for Colorado bicyclists

KDVR | FOX31 Denver

May 30, 2019Greg NietoThere is a new program offering insurance for bicyclists in Colorado. On Thursday, Buddy Insurance announced a partnership with advocacy group Bicycle Colorado. According to a press release, Buddy created the first and only on-demand crash coverage...Read more.

30 insurance innovators to watch

Digital Insurance

May 30, 2019Nathan GoliaInsurtech is still a relatively young sector defining assumptions. Despite some light quarters for insurtech investment in late 2017 and early 2018, the segment roared back with back-to-back billion-dollar quarters of worldwide investment... Read more.

Shockoe Bottom startup offers insurance for the adventurous set

Richmond Biz Sense

Apr 30, 2019Mike PlataniaA local insurance startup aimed at outdoor enthusiasts is gradually making its way east as it plans a launch in its home state. Shockoe Bottom-based Buddy recently went live in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado, selling episodic accide...Read more.

Richmond Start-Up Offers "Adventurer" Insurance Plans

Radio IQ

Dec 18, 2018Mallory Noe-Payne & Nick GilmoreCharles Merritt likes to mountain bike, climb and spend time outside. He has a whole community of friends who do the same. There have always been stories of people getting hurt, followed by sympathy from friends and family...Read more.

Startup Spotlight: Buddy sees huge potential market in providing accident insurance for outdoor recreation

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Nov 17, 2018John Reid BlackwellBuddy has built an online platform — buddyinsurance.com — to offer accident coverage by the day, week, month or year. The site allows consumers to get quotes, and it works with insurance partners to offer customers quick access to health...Read more.


P.O. Box 81
Richmond, VA 23218-0081
P.O. Box 81
Richmond, VA 23218-0081