Wade Eyerly: Revolutionizing Student Financial Security with Data-Driven Solutions

Wade Eyerly

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Wade Eyerly is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovator, renowned for his trailblazing ventures in heavily regulated industries. As the CEO and Founder of Degree Insurance Co., Eyerly continues to make a significant impact in the realm of insurance. With an impressive background that spans diverse fields, he has consistently demonstrated his ability to navigate complex challenges and pioneer groundbreaking solutions.

Eyerly first gained recognition for his role as the founder and CEO of Surf Air, where he revolutionized the airline industry with the introduction of the all-you-can-fly subscription model. This groundbreaking concept not only disrupted traditional air travel but also showcased Eyerly’s aptitude for driving innovation even within highly regulated spaces. He went on to be CEO of two airlines, Executive Chairman of a third and spent time as an executive at Wheels Up.

Before his entrepreneurial journey took off, Eyerly honed his skills and expertise in prominent positions. He served on the staff of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, contributing his insights as an economist at the Pentagon. Eyerly’s dedication to public service led him to serve as an intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he completed a tour of duty in Iraq.

Eyerly’s involvement in the political landscape is also noteworthy. He served on the National Finance Committee for both of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns.  He also worked for Utah’s then-Governor Jon Huntsman while he was studying at Brigham Young University (BYU). He served as a Public Utilities Commissioner in New Canaan, CT, as well.  Eyerly holds degrees from the University of Central Missouri and BYU.

Ensuring Financial Stability for Graduates

Degree Insurance is a trailblazing insurance company that is revolutionizing the way students and educational institutions approach higher education. With its innovative and data-driven approach, the company addresses the financial risks associated with pursuing a college degree, offering a unique product that guarantees a student’s earnings in the five years following graduation. By bridging the gap between education and financial security, Degree Insurance provides peace of mind and helps students make informed decisions about their future. In a world where college degrees are often the largest uninsured investments individuals make, Degree Insurance recognizes the importance of safeguarding the value of higher education. They understand that, despite a growing narrative questioning the necessity of college, a degree remains the most consistent path out of poverty in America.

Degree Insurance is the first company in the world to create an actuarial table that understands the risks and benefits of a college education and then uses it to create an insurance product. This data-driven pricing model lets them accurately predict a student’s likely earnings after graduation and then, across a group of covered students, guarantee those earnings for 5 years giving students and their colleges a valuable resource for understanding the value being delivered and minimizing the risks undertaken. Furthermore, Degree Insurance helps to level the playing field and address socioeconomic disparities in higher education. Their commitment to helping students from low-income backgrounds and underrepresented groups ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in the job market.

A Visionary Leader in Disruptive Ventures

As the CEO and co-founder of Degree Insurance, Wade Eyerly holds a range of critical roles and responsibilities within the company. His primary focus is on setting the strategic direction for the organization, overseeing day-to-day operations, and cultivating a positive company culture that fosters innovation and growth. His extensive experience as an entrepreneur and consultant across various industries equips him with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead Degree Insurance to success.

One of Eyerly’s notable achievements is his founding of Surf Air, a Santa Monica-based airline that disrupted the industry with its pioneering all-you-can-fly subscription model. He led Surf Air from its initial concept through the Muckerlab incubator and secured four funding rounds, amassing over $20 million in debt and equity. During his tenure, Surf Air achieved a remarkable 91 Net Promoter Score, reflecting a high level of customer satisfaction, and generated $7 million in annual revenue while maintaining a lean marketing budget of $52,000.

Eyerly’s career also includes distinguished roles in the public sector, including contributing to the Department of Defense and serving as an economist at the Pentagon, where he specialized in Europe and NATO affairs. He made valuable contributions as a Senior Business Consultant for the Department of Defense and deployed to Iraq in 2009 and 2010, leveraging his expertise to develop quantitative models that predicted conflict and enhanced soldier safety. His exceptional work in Iraq earned him recognition, including the Secretary of Defense’s medal for the Global War on Terror and the Civilian Joint Service Commendation.

Unleashing Innovation through Collaboration 

Wade Eyerly has encountered a range of challenges throughout his journey as a leader. One significant challenge he has faced is navigating heavily regulated industries. From the airline sector to national security and now insurance, Eyerly has operated in fields with strict rules and regulations. Complying with these regulations while introducing disruptive models and ensuring operational efficiency can be a complex task. His ability to navigate these intricate regulatory environments demonstrates his expertise in understanding and adapting to the challenges of heavily regulated industries.

Another challenge Eyerly has tackled is striking a balance between data-driven decision-making and uncertainty. While he recognizes the importance of leveraging data for informed decisions, leaders often face situations where complete or perfect information is unavailable. Making decisions under uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances requires leaders to have the confidence to act based on the best available data. His emphasis on using the information at hand and being comfortable with uncertainty highlights his adaptability and resilience as a leader.

Blueprint for Leadership Triumph in Insurance 

Wade Eyerly, with his extensive experience as a leader in various industries, would offer valuable advice to aspiring leaders looking to make a name in the insurance industry. He would emphasize the following principles to guide them on their path to success:

First and foremost, Eyerly would stress the importance of staying ahead of the game with innovation. In the insurance industry, embracing change and exploring new ideas is crucial to remaining competitive. Aspiring leaders should be open to adopting cutting-edge technologies, innovative business models, and forward-thinking strategies that can help their companies grow and better serve their clients. By actively seeking out innovation and being willing to take calculated risks, aspiring leaders can position themselves and their companies at the forefront of the industry.

Furthermore, Eyerly emphasizes the significance of prioritizing company culture. Building a positive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best work is essential for sustained growth. Aspiring leaders should focus on fostering a culture that encourages collaboration, creativity, and continuous learning. By putting the well-being and development of their team members at the forefront, leaders can cultivate a high-performing workforce and create a strong foundation for success.

Mastering the Art of Harmonious Living

Maintaining a perfect work-life balance is a continuous challenge for many leaders, and Wade Eyerly is no exception. However, he actively prioritizes his family and adopts strategies to ensure a healthy balance between work and family. Despite his demanding professional responsibilities, he dedicates quality time to his wife and three young boys.

Whether it is cheering them on at ball fields, playing games together, or simply being present in their lives, he prioritizes building lasting memories and nurturing their growth. By participating in his boys’ activities, Eyerly demonstrates his commitment to being an involved and supportive father. When Eyerly does find a few moments of free time for himself, he tends to engage in activities that bring him joy and relaxation. Reading is a hobby that he consistently indulges in, allowing him to unwind and expand his knowledge.


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Also Read: The Most Prominent Leaders in Insurance Industry

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