Jeff Gulleson was born and raised in Satsop, Washington. He graduated from PBC (PBI) in Alberta, Canada. He moved to Indonesia to work for an NGO for 30 years in training and leadership on Madura Island, and Java, including in Jakarta, the largest city (population) in Southeast Asia. He is fluent in Indonesian and has written several books on communication skills in that language. Upon moving to Arizona in 1997, he founded Good Neighbor Insurance. GNI provides international travel and health insurance for thousands of short-term travelers and international workers, as well as providing group insurance for over 80 international companies and organizations, and approximately 100 more that send out short-term teams. GNI also offers insurance to residents of Arizona and all the 50 states, including individuals, groups, and Medicare plans. Jeff also helped create a non-profit in 2003 that employs two full-time workers and nine part-time staff working alongside nationals throughout Indonesia. Jeff is married and has three adult children, all of which grew up overseas. He tries to return to Indonesia annually.
Five Questions For Jeff
1.) Jeff, as owner of Good Neighbor, how do you help non-profits, charities and individual travelers?
With my son, I am the owner/president of GNI. Our goal is to help every non-profit and every traveler find the best and most cost-effective insurance for their overseas personnel and trip/needs. We do that by:
- Making sure we have the right carriers that will properly look after our clients
- Making sure we have the right staff that have the expertise and experience we need, as well as great passion and customer service skills
- Making sure we pay our staff above industry-standard, so we can avoid individual commissions and competition, and salespeople’s self-interest getting in the way of telling people the truth.
- Making sure we follow up with clients and do our best to defend them and answer their claim questions
Our goal is to help our friends find the international health and travel insurance that best meets their needs. People are always busy overseas, we try to do all we can to minimize the hassles and issues while making sure their policy is there when they need it.
2.) What does “Good Neighbor Insurance” mean to you?
I worked overseas with a non-profit for 32 years. When I returned to the USA, I decided to start an insurance brokerage that would go the “second mile,” helping fellow international workers and non-profits find good, cost-effective health and travel insurance. I chose the name “Good Neighbor” because that is exactly what I wanted GNI to be, a “good neighbor” to those working internationally.
If you’ve ever lived overseas, you’ve experienced the hospitality and kindness of neighbors. We want to extend that same hospitality to our clients by being a “servants to the servants:” Those who are overseas doing good, right now, creating jobs and hope; making clean water available to villages; healing people and teaching them; working in war zones and documenting tragedies; bringing good news to millions; changing the world one person, one community at a time.
3.) Okay, here’s a multi-answer question: Where have you traveled to/lived? What did you like about it, and what has it taught you?
I was born in Washington State – and I am deeply grateful, and indebted, for my citizenship and the opportunities I have had.
I lived in Indonesia for 32 years. It was a wonderful time. All of my children were born there and they all love Indonesia. Indonesians are one of the most friendly people in the world. The climate is great. The food is delicious. I count it a great privilege to have lived and worked in Indonesia.
I have traveled to other countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, and Europe, but Indonesia will always be closest to my heart.
I learned that there is beauty in every culture, and that every people in the world have their good and bad qualities. I also learned that all people have a deep longing to live in peace, to raise their families, while also seeking to raise their living standards. As we can help them-We should do so.
4.) What’s on your “Bucket List” – What are the next three places you’d like to go, or things you’d like to do, if money were no object?
Of course I want to keep going back to Indonesia. My custom has been to spend three weeks in Indonesia every year, even now.
I would like to go to Norway. My grandparents immigrated to the USA from Norway around 1885.
Another place of great interest would be China – I would like to visit “the Middle Kingdom.”
5.) Tell us your best travel tip, or bit of expatriate advice, to help those traveling or living overseas:
Always show great and deep respect to everyone.
Make every effort to avoid being an “Ugly American.” I read a book titled “the Ugly American” (by William J. and Burdick, Eugene Lederer)on my first trip to Indonesia and I determined in my heart that I would work hard to avoid that moniker. Americans have much work to do in this regard…be humble and willing to learn from everyone.
Name two things you are grateful for?
1.) I am very thankful for a good team of co-workers at Good Neighbor Insurance (GNI).
2.) I am thankful for a wonderful wife and good home and many friends.