YuLife originally made a name for itself in its home market of the UK for its new approach to life insurance provisioning: yes, sell a policy that provides financial security for your loved ones in the event of death; but do so with a focus on enhancing the insured’s current life with wellness opportunities, and encourage the use of this with gamification – a model that not only aims to further benefit insured, but increases engagement on the platform and provides supplemental income for YuLife, which offers deals on wellness services.
His idea took off – it’s now used by more than 500 companies, including Co-op, Del Monte, Jaguar Land Rover, Santander and CapitalOne, who in turn provide plans to their employees, one in three of whom engages daily on the application. . In the aftermath, the company is now announcing that it has raised $120 million to expand the concept. Today, YuLife covers group life insurance, critical illness protection, and income protection, but is now rapidly expanding into new categories like dental and health care, as well as financial services ( pensions being an example of a category that has a strong affinity with life insurance), as well as to new markets like the United States
The funding, a Series C, brings a new strategic investor on board, Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, which is leading the round, along with participation from previous investors Creandum, LocalGlobe, Target Global, Latitude, Anthemis, OurCrowd, Notion, MMC and Eurazeo.
CEO and co-founder Sammy Rubin tells us this latest round values the company at $800 million. For some context on that number, when YuLife recently raised before that — a $70 million Series B in 2021 — it was valued at $346 million.
That’s a decent jump considering the current climate. Many tech companies struggle to raise towers, and when they do, valuations are permanently locked in (and in a number of cases, they see lower towers). And insuretech in particular is certainly not spared: following a boom at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, funding for insurance tech in the first quarter of 2022 was 50% lower than that of a year ago, and the second quarter is shaping up to be even slower, according to Dealroom research.
Part of the reason for YuLife’s bump is that the company itself has continued to grow during the downturn.
Rubin tells me that his customers – he only sells directly to organizations in a B2B model, which in turn provide life insurance to their employees as part of larger benefits programs – have grown 4x the year last year (not as much as the previous year, which was up 10x, but still growing), with revenues up five times and coverage now totaling $50 billion, up from $15 billion a year ago. Nearly 50% of its customers are new to the platform, he said, and in doing so expands the reach of those who view it as a valuable benefit for their employees.
“These are companies that have never had life insurance before,” Rubin said, noting that they are attracted not just “by the life insurance benefit package, but by the platform. holistic that surrounds it”.
This holistic platform is an interesting twist on the basic concept of what life insurance can be.
The app is designed by gaming industry veterans and is designed around the concept of different natural environments such as forest and mountains, which YuLife collectively refers to as its “Yuniverse”.
In each of these environments, users are encouraged to walk, cycle, meditate, and do other activities to move healthily through their environment, while being able to compare their progress with that of other colleagues. As with many games these days, there’s a degree of customization to everyone’s experience: one person leaning into one activity over another seems to produce different subsequent scenarios.
Along with that, users get discounts on third-party products to further engage in gaming within YuLife, which could include a subscription to the Calm meditation app, FitBit and Garmin devices, and more. As users travel through their worlds, they get rewards, in the form of something called YuCoins. YuCoins can in turn be used to redeem vouchers from Amazon and Asos.
Group life insurance, Rubin said, is the company’s flagship product and accounts for more than 80% of revenue. Its other products – currently critical illness, income protection and dental care – account for the remaining 20%. Its income, he added, is attributed to the sale of insurance policies. “Our insurance policies are holistic and include the wellness element,” he said.
Wellness in itself is a huge opportunity – worth around $1.5 trillion in 2021 according to McKinsey estimates – and while you can see a strong affinity between how this could be trending around of a life insurance product, and actually a health insurance product, it will be interesting to see how YuLife adapts the concept to other types of insurance and other products such as financial services. Rubin noted that currently one of the perks of the dental product is a free electric toothbrush for every new user (although users still have to pay to replace heads).
As for the other way YuLife could grow, Rubin added that it “has no intention” of becoming a D2C product, but continuing to sell through businesses. This continues to set it apart from the broader wave of insurtechs, which have largely disrupted the historic market by improving accessibility to insurance in the first place.
AIG, Met Life and Zurich are current underwriters of YuLife in the UK and Rubin said the company is currently negotiating with underwriters and other partners for its US launch. Dai-chi Life has operations in the US market – among other businesses it owns Protective Life – but Rubin said the strategic element of this investment was not about that, but rather a longer-term plan to grow. also expand to Japan.
“Dai-ichi Life is committed to supporting companies that have a proven track record of improving people’s lives, and YuLife does just that, bringing tangible value to financial products to enhance people’s well-being,” said Toshiaki Sumino, director and general manager of Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc., in a statement. “YuLife has immense potential to build on its achievements to date, and we are excited to invest and help propel YuLife into its next steps and expand its global operations. YuLife shares our philosophy of harnessing the latest technology trends to make a real difference in the lives of those who use financial products.