We’re excited to bring Transform 2022 back in person on July 19 and pretty much July 20-28. Join AI and data leaders for insightful conversations and exciting networking opportunities. Register today†
Could a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer gaming take over the world? insurance† YuLifea UK-based insurance startup, is looking to do just that.
The company plans to bring its gamified life and health insurance model to the North American and US markets. The company currently insures more than 500,000 UK customers, and it believes the US market alone could be five times larger.
“We are fundamentally approaching the life insurance industry from a new perspective,” said Sammy Rubin, the CEO and founder of YuLife. “Our mission is to inspire people to live their best lives, and we’ve always felt that insurance only focused on the claims when people die.”
Fusing gamification into the mix
To that end, YuLife distributes an app that tracks and rewards users who engage in healthy behaviors, such as walking or meditating. They receive YuCoins for good deeds and they can later exchange these tokens for free goods at Amazon or airline miles.
The company is also expanding options beyond consumption. YuCoin users can also spend the tokens on what it calls “impact initiatives” with more eco-friendly or humanitarian causes. This year, the company says members have helped plant more than 18,000 trees and provide more than 30,000 meals to Ukrainian refugees.
“Amazon is definitely the most popular,” Rubin says. “But after that, we find that a lot of the philanthropic activities, especially with the rise and ESG and more sensitivity around doing good in the world.”
Gamification is a trending target for several companies in different industries right now, as it drives engagement and customers seem to like it. All fitness apps like Strava† MapMyRun or OpenFit, just to name a few, rely heavily on goal setting and rewarding any progress toward them. They take advantage of the innate competitive nature of humans.
At the same time, companies are bringing the same model to other pursuits that may have been less competitive in the past. Duolingofor example, rewards users with points and also nudges them with goals and leaderboards. Waze tracks users who report problems such as traffic jams and then rewards them with points.
“There are different types of players: achievers, explorers, socializers, and assassins,” explains Rubin. “They all have different mechanisms for why they use the app, and we’ve built a rich experience into the app to cater to all types of people.”
For example, leaderboards attract the most competitive people, while explorers are given many different modes or feature sets to explore.
Currently, group life insurance would be the “flagship product” for YuLife, but it also wants to combine their efforts with other products such as disability, income protection, dental insurance or health insurance. The market in the United States is very different from the United Kingdom, where their National Health Service provides a foundation of support for all citizens.
“Obviously, health insurance is more important to the US, so we’ll link it to health insurance as well, but our flagship product is really the existing group life insurance policy, which alone is a huge, huge market,” Rubin says. “Most companies offer their employees collective life, death and service benefits and now this will be a richer offering they can provide.”
The company’s recent $120 million Series C financing round was led by Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc. (TSE: 8750) (“Dai-ichi Life”), a new investor in the company. YuLife has raised an additional $86 million since its inception in 2016 from other investors such as Creandum, LocalGlobe, Target Global, Latitude, Anthemis, OurCrowd, Notion, MMC and Eurazeo who also participated in this round.
“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, managing executive officer at Dai-ichi Life Holdings, Inc., who led the round. “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.”