YuLife originally made a name for itself in the UK’s home market for its new approach to providing life insurance: yes, sell a policy that provides financial security to your people in the event of your death; but do so with a focus on improving current policyholder lives with wellness capabilities, and encourage their use with gamification – a model that focuses not only on greater benefit to policyholders, but also engagement on the platform increases and generates additional revenue for YuLife , which offers offers on the wellness services.
The idea took off – it is 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 receives the daily uses . On its heels, 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 it is now rapidly expanding into new categories such as dentistry and health, as well as financial services (pensions is an example of a category that has a strong affinity with life insurance), as well as into new markets like the US
The financing, a Series C, brings on board a new strategic investor, Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, leading the round, along with participation from past investors Creandum, LocalGlobe, Target Global, Latitude, Anthemis, OurCrowd, Notion, MMC and Eurazeo.
CEO and co-founder Sammy Rubin tells us that this latest fundraiser values the company at $800 million. For some context on that figure, when YuLife more recently raised funds for this — a $70 million Series B in 2021 — it was valued at $346 million.
That is quite a leap given the current climate. Many tech companies find it difficult to raise rounds, and when they do, valuations are permanently knotted down (and in some cases they see down rounds). And insuretech is certainly not spared: On the heels of a boom at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, insurance technology financing in Q1 2022 was 50% lower than a year ago, with Q2 slowing even more , according to research by deal room†
Part of the reason for YuLife’s bump is that the company itself has continued to grow due to the slowdown.
Rubin tells me that his customers — it only sells directly to organizations in a B2B model, who in turn offer their employees life insurance as part of larger benefits programs — have quadrupled in the past year (not as much as the year before, which was 10x, but still growing), with revenues quintupling and total coverage of $50 billion, up from $15 billion a year ago. Nearly 50% of his customers are new to the platform, he said, expanding the reach of those who see it as a valuable benefit to their employees.
“These are companies that have never had life insurance before,” Rubin said, noting that they are attracted not just “by the whole life insurance benefit, but by the holistic platform around it.”
That holistic platform is an interesting twist on the basic concept of what life insurance can be about.
Built by game industry veterans, the app is designed around the concept of various natural environments such as forests and mountains, which YuLife collectively calls the “Yuniverse.”
Within each of these environments, users are encouraged to walk, cycle, meditate, and do other activities to move around in their environment in a healthy way, while at the same time comparing their progress with that of other colleagues. As with much gaming these days, a degree of personalization is in everyone’s experience: one person leaning one activity over another seems to produce several sequential scenarios.
In addition, users get discounts on third-party products to continue playing the game in YuLife, including a subscription to the Calm meditation app, FitBit and Garmin devices, and more. As users make their way through their worlds, they get rewards, in the form of something called YuCoins. The YuCoins can in turn be used to redeem vouchers from Amazon and Asos.
Group life insurance, Rubin said, is the company’s flagship product, accounting for more than 80% of its sales. The other products – currently critical illness, income protection and dentistry – account for the remaining 20%. The income, he added, is attributed to the sale of insurance policies. “Our insurance policies are holistic and include the wellness element,” he said.
Wellness itself is a huge opportunity – estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion by 2021 McKinsey estimates – and while you can see a strong affinity between how that could be oriented around a life insurance product, and indeed a health insurance product, it will be interesting to see how YuLife aligns the concept with other types of insurance and with other products like financial services. Rubin noted that one of the benefits of the dental product right now is a free electric toothbrush for every new user (although users still have to pay to replace the heads).
As for the other way YuLife could grow, Rubin added that it has “no plans” to become a D2C product, but to continue selling through businesses. This still sets it apart from the broader wave of insurtechs, which have largely disrupted the existing market by improving access to insurance.
AIG, Met Life and Zurich are YuLife’s current insurers in the UK, and Rubin said the company is currently negotiating with insurers and other partners for the US launch. Dai-chi Life does have operations in the US market—among other businesses Protective Life owns—but Rubin said the strategic element of this investment is not focused on that, but rather a longer-term plan to expand to Japan as well. to expand.
“Dai-ichi Life is committed to supporting companies with a proven track record of improving people’s lives, and YuLife is doing just that, adding tangible value to financial products to enhance the well-being of individuals. strengthen,” said Toshiaki Sumino, director and managing executive officer at Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc., in a statement. “YuLife has tremendous potential to build on its achievements to date, and we are excited to invest and help YuLife take the next steps and scale its global business. YuLife shares our ethos to leverage the latest trends in technology to make a real difference in the lives of those who use financial products.”