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UK insurtech raises $70M to brighten up life insurance

The news: YuLife’s Series B round values the startup at £250 million ($320.59 million), per TechCrunch. It will use the funding to expand its business and build more products on its platform.

How does it work? To boost engagement and adoption, the UK insurtech is betting on gamification and proactive care.

YuLife lets employers offer life insurance coverage as an employee benefit. It uses gamification to improve users’ physical and mental health: Its app design is inspired by different environments, like the ocean and mountains, and encourages users to walk, cycle, and meditate. There’s also a competitive aspect—users can compare their progress against their co-workers, further pushing engagement. As users complete tasks within the app, they earn rewards called YuCoins, which they can exchange for vouchers from the likes of Amazon and Asos.

The impact: YuLife now provides $15 billion of coverage and has grown 10-fold in the last year. Its customers include high-profile names like Co-op and Capital One, as well as fellow fintech Curve. And future growth will likely stem from increased awareness and employees demanding better benefits:

  • While the pandemic hasn’t boosted life insurance sales, it has increased interest among consumers: 30% of consumers across the UK, the US, and Spain said COVID-19 made them more likely to consider buying life insurance, per Swiss Re. And Google searches for life insurance have surged amid the pandemic, which could soon translate into an uptick in sales.
  • Thirty-nine percent of employees reported that more discounts and perks would increase employee benefit satisfaction—a gap YuLife could fill with its engaging rewards platform. And 87% of employees say they’d be more likely to apply for a job at a company that looked after its employees during the pandemic, incentivizing more employers to seek out life insurer partnerships.

The wider industry: YuLife isn’t the only insurtech trying to disrupt the $2.2 trillion global life insurance industry.

UK-based Anorak and DeadHappy raised £5 million ($6.4 million) and £4.1 million ($5.26 million), respectively, earlier this year. BIMA, which offers life and health insurance in emerging markets, scooped up $30 million in September 2020, and US-based Ethos secured $200 million at a $2 billion valuation in May.