YuLife secures $120M at $800M valuation for gamified wellness-focused life insurance

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Yulife initially made a name for itself in its home UK market with a new approach to life insurance: yes, selling a policy that provides financial security to your people in the event of your death; but do so with a focus on improving the current life of the insured through wellness opportunities and encourage the use of this through gamification, a model that not only aims to deliver more value to insurers, but also increases participation on the platform and ensures additional income for YuLife. which offers discounts on wellness services.

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His idea took off – now more than 500 companies use it, including Co-op, Del Monte, Jaguar Land Rover, Santander and CapitalOne, who in turn provide plans to their employees, one in three of which uses the app daily. . Following this, the company now announces that it has raised $120 million to expand the concept. Today, YuLife covers group life insurance, critical illness protection, and income protection, but it is now rapidly expanding into new categories such as dentistry and healthcare, and financial services (pensions is one example of a category that is closely related to life insurance). ), as well as new markets such as the US

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Series C funding attracts a new strategic investor, Japanese life insurance company Dai-ichi, which leads the round, along with previous investors Creandum, LocalGlobe, Target Global, Latitude, Anthemis, OurCrowd, Notion. , MMS and Evrazeo.

CEO and co-founder Sammy Rubin tells us this latest fundraiser values ​​the company at $800 million. For some context to this figure, when YuLife most recently raised money before – $70 million Series B in 2021 – it was estimated at 346 million dollars.

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That’s a decent jump given the current climate. Many tech companies find it difficult to raise rounds, and when they do, valuations definitely get zipped up (and rounds down in some cases). And insuretech is definitely not spared: following a boom during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, insurance technology funding in the first quarter of 2022 was 50% lower than a year ago, and the second quarter will be even slower, according to research from trading room.

One reason for YuLife’s dramatic growth is that the company itself continued to grow during the downturn.

Rubin tells me that his clients – they only sell directly to B2B organizations that in turn insure the lives of their employees through larger benefit programs – have quadrupled in the past year (not as much as a year earlier, which was 10 times larger, but growing), revenue has increased five times, and coverage is now $50 billion compared to $15 billion a year ago. According to him, about 50% of his clients are new to this platform, and thus the circle of those who see it as a useful advantage for their employees is expanding.

“These are companies that have never had life insurance before,” Rubin said, noting that they are attracted not only by “complete life insurance, but also by the holistic platform around it.”

This holistic platform is an interesting twist on the basic concept of life insurance.

Created by game industry veterans, the app is designed around the concept of various natural environments such as forest and mountains, which YuLife collectively calls its “Universe”.

In each of these environments, users are encouraged to walk, bike, meditate, and perform other activities to move around the environment in a healthy way, while at the same time being able to compare their progress with other peers. As with many games these days, there is a degree of personalization to everyone’s experience: one person leaning towards one action over another seems to create different subsequent scenarios.

Along with this, users are offered discounts on third-party products to further their participation in the game within YuLife, which may include a subscription to the Calm meditation app, FitBit and Garmin devices, and more. As users make their way through their worlds, they are rewarded with something called YuCoins. Yucoins, in turn, can be used to redeem vouchers from companies like Amazon and Asos.

Group life insurance, according to Rubin, is the company’s flagship product and generates more than 80% of revenue. Its other products—currently critical illness, income protection, and dentistry—make up the other 20%. His income, he added, comes from selling insurance policies. “Our insurance policies are holistic and include a wellness element,” he said.

Wellness itself is a huge opportunity, worth about $1.5 trillion in 2021. McKinsey estimates — and while you can see a strong similarity between how this can be focused on a life insurance product and actually a health insurance product, it will be interesting to see how YuLife adapts this concept to other types of insurance and other products such as financial services. Rubin noted that right now, one benefit of the dental product is a free electric toothbrush for every new user (although users still have to pay to replace heads).

Speaking about other ways YuLife can grow, Rubin added that it “doesn’t have plans” to become a D2C product, but to continue selling through companies. This still sets it apart from the broader wave of insurance companies that have largely disrupted the incumbent market by improving affordability in the first place.

AIG, Met Life and Zurich are YuLife’s current underwriters in the UK, and Rubin said the company is currently in talks with underwriters and other partners about its US launch. Dai-chi Life has operations in the US market — it owns Protective Life, among other things — but Rubin said the strategic element of the investment is not in that, but in a longer-term plan to expand in Japan.

“Dai-ichi Life is committed to supporting companies that have a proven track record of making a difference in people’s lives, and YuLife is doing just that by bringing tangible value to financial products to improve people’s well-being,” said Toshiaki Sumino, Dai-ichi Director and Managing Executive. Life Holdings, Inc., the statement said. “YuLife has tremendous potential to build on its achievements to date and we are thrilled to invest in and help move YuLife to the next step and scale its global operations. YuLife shares our commitment to using the latest technology trends to make a real difference in the lives of those who use financial products.”

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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