Director of Group Accounts
Karen Bellas was born and raised in Columbus, OH. She graduated from Miami University with a BA in International Studies. Her love for travel took her to Turkey where she met her husband while studying Turkish. After marriage they returned to Turkey. They led a team for seven years for an NGO (non-governmental organization) doing relief work with the Kurds after the first Gulf War. After a brief time in the U.S., they went to Bulgaria in 1998 where they did micro-enterprise development among the Millet (Turkish-speaking gypsies). In 2003, they returned to Turkey engaging in community outreach among the Kurds of Istanbul. Karen’s two children are now married and she has 2 grandchildren with more to come.
Talking with Karen
1.) Karen, what do you do for Good Neighbor, and how does your job help non-profits, charities and/or individual travelers?
I am the manager of the individual and short-term team department. When people call in or write, I’m the one offering them the most cost effective insurance for their needs (or one of my team). I want to make sure they have adequate insurance to meet their needs and that is not always the cheapest thing available online. But at the same time, I don’t want to sell them something more than what they need or want.
2.) What does “Good Neighbor Insurance” stand for to you?
Like the story of the Good Samaritan. who was a stranger to the injured man but acted like his neighbor, and was the one who took care of him.
It is doing for others what you would want them to do for you.
3.) Where have you traveled to/lived? What did you like about it, and what has it taught you?
I have lived in Luxembourg as a college student for one year. Later, I lived in Turkey and Bulgaria for many years. I like learning other languages and understanding other people. I’ve learned that people have similar needs around the world: Food, shelter, safety and love. Not everyone has easy access to these things.
4.) 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?
I would like to see Canada, the Yucatan peninsula, and go on a river cruise on the Danube.
5.) Tell us your best travel tip, or bit of expatriate advice, to help those traveling or living overseas:
Always travel with a change of clothes in your carry-on, since you never know when your luggage may get lost.
Those traveling with babies and children, be sure to have something for them to suck on or eat for take-offs and landings. One of my first trips with a toddler (too small for chewing gum, but who never took to a pacifier), a fellow passenger saved us all with a box of raisins for my child to eat.
Name two things you are grateful for?
1.) The opportunity to serve faith based clients through my work at Good Neighbor Insurance. I enjoy helping them.
2.) Having two great kids who have grown up to be fine adults.
The question I am probably asked the most is…
“Is it really that inexpensive (for coverage)?”
The answer is “yes” for travelers under the age of 50. As travelers get older and want more comprehensive coverage, then the premiums are higher, but still reasonable considering the alternative of having to pay for medical care or medical evacuation out of pocket.