Alexis Vertefeuille: Sinistar Is the Largest Community of Hosts Dedicated to Disaster Relocation

Sinistar is the largest community of hosts dedicated to disaster relocation. Our online marketplace connects local hosts with insurance companies looking to temporarily relocate their policyholders.

We believe that all families should be able to count on the support of members of their community in times of crisis.

Tell us about yourself?

I started Sinistar in 2017 when I was still in University completing a dual degree in law and management.

Through building the business, I became interested in insurance and contract law. These are skills I now use every day when closing relocation contracts with insurers.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

When you start a business, a lot of people from different backgrounds are going to give you advice. But only a hand-full have done what you’re aspiring to do, and valuable insight is rarer than you think.

So, I would say to look for and reach out to those individuals who have succeeded and are in the position you aspire to be in. Those are the people you want to listen to.

What problem does your business solve?

Before Sinistar, the disaster relocation market was highly exclusive. Prices were through the roof, but only a few large landowners benefited. Now, anyone—even small property owners—can rent out their home to insurance companies through Sinistar.

Disaster victims get to stay in their neighbourhood, in their communities, in a fully furnished and equipped temporary accommodation. And insurance companies can streamline their relocation process while benefiting from a competitive market.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

It all began in 2016, I had run into a friend whose mother had lost her home to a fire and was living at a hotel. That’s when I realized there was a market for disaster relocation.

Looking more into it, I learned that a handful of large real estate holders were getting almost all the insurance companies’ relocation contracts.

Disaster victims, on the other hand, were often relocated dozens of kilometers away from their homes, making it hard for them to settle into a routine. I thought it was time for this conservative market to change, so I made it happen.

What is your magic sauce?

We’re a small team of highly talented, passionate, and hard-working young people. This is far from the norm in the insurance world, but it has made us successful.

We can move fast and come up with innovative solutions using the latest technology—things our more traditional competitors have struggled with. We are also bringing the sharing economy to the disaster relocation business in a move to make it more competitive.

Claims adjusters like to work with us because they know they’re not just filling the pockets of large corporations. They’re actually giving business to local landowners who really care about the families they are housing.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

We are working on consolidating our presence across Canada before expanding into international markets. The plan is to establish the company in the US and Europe, where our platform would likely be the first of its kind.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

As a tech company, one of our greatest challenges has been to find and retain qualified staff amid a labour shortage. We have achieved so much already with our small team.

But our future growth depends largely on our ability to attract top talent in a highly competitive job market. To offset our staff shortage and protect our employee’s work-life balance, we’ve automated much of our administrative load, and we’ve become a remote-first organization.

So, although we have offices in Montréal, our staff can work from anywhere in Canada and enjoy a flexible schedule.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We are looking to expand our services all across Canada! If you are invested in our mission, take a look at our website to learn more and get in touch with us!

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