Buying insurance against your own death hardly sounds like a fun task, but UK-based insurtech YuLife has set itself the enormous task of “gamifying” the life insurance process through its app. And it’s just raised a $120m equity Series C round to take it global, bringing its valuation to $800m.
What does YuLife do?
YuLife’s clients are companies that want to provide insurance to their employees — the policyholders — through its group life insurance product. It’s designed an app that policyholders can log into every day to complete “wellness activities” — like walking, cycling or meditating. YuLife incentivises its users with a YuCoin reward that they can use to buy gifts, plant trees or donate to charity. Policyholders can also compare their activities with their coworkers through the app.
The company has grown its gross written premiums (the total premiums it writes before deductions) more than fivefold each year since launching in 2016. More than 500k employees are now covered by its life insurance — equating to $50bn of cover. Clients include Capital One, Co-op, Curve and Sodexo.
Who’s investing in YuLife?
Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company led the round. Existing investors that joined the round were:
- Target Global
What’s the life insurance market like?
Death and taxes are life's only certainties, so naturally life insurance is a massive global market: it reached $4.9tn in 2021. But it’s also an industry ripe for disruption — a few massive insurance giants dominate most corporations’ employee benefit packages, and they're YuLife's main competitors.
Barcelona’s Vitaance is a newer entry into the European market that seems to be adopting YuLife’s “wellness” focus, while the UK’s DeadHappy has focused more on the payments model of insurance by offering a “pay as you go” product and “death wishes”, which essentially act as a will. So far, YuLife is the biggest European player focusing on what its founders call a “holistic” approach to premiums.
What's next for YuLife?
- The company plans to build its presence in the UK for now, before launching in the US and South Africa in early 2023.
- YuLife's founders tell Sifted it's "very likely" they'll partner with Dai-ichi in Japan "when the time is right" to expand into Asia.
- YuLife plans to grow its headcount by around 10-20% over the next year, equating to 20-30 new roles in the UK and the US.
- It also plans to expand its product range to "a wider variety of financial products that can enhance wellbeing", its founders tell Sifted.
YuLife has maintained the backing of some serious investors in this round, which comes hot on the heels of its $70m Series B this time last year. It’s clear they believe in its concept — and now Dai-ichi, which has a presence in eight countries, is also on board.
YuLife has some big global expansion ambitions: the challenge will be its product market fit in all these places. Are policyholders in Japan going to be as fussed about cycling as those in the UK?
Amy O’Brien is Sifted’s fintech reporter. She authors Sifted’s fintech newsletter and tweets from @Amy_EOBrien