Meet the insurtech: Avibra aims to be the Netflix of life insurance

A former New York Life managing director's new insurtech is trying to solve life insurance's sales doldrums by avoiding the product overall.

Yogesh Shetty's Avibra's vision was to "offer a Netflix-type subscription for overall well-being that automatically provides an opportunity to bundle longevity services and a mortality product – life insurance – along with it,” he says.

“We’re not in the business of selling life insurance. We’re in the business of selling a longevity service. We’re offering something unique that can bring tangible benefits to users’ day-to-day lives," Shetty continues.

Simply by downloading the Avibra app, customers automatically receive $10,000 in term life insurance coverage. The coverage is guaranteed and non-discriminatory and there is no medical underwriting involved. Avibra partnered with Amalgamated Life and Life of the South to underwrite the product.

After that, customers can then bump up the coverage in one of two ways: They can review and interact with Avibra’s updated-weekly in-app content, which is developed by industry experts and designed to improve individual financial, physical, and career well-being.

“People can educate themselves by taking quizzes, meditating or watching educational videos on quitting smoking or reducing screen time, for instance, and they are rewarded with small coverage increases,” Shetty notes. “Instead of rewarding people with gift cards or cash, we bundle in life insurance.”

Users can also agree to connect their credit cards and bank account information, plus their wearables and other personal data sources, and Avibra’s proprietary data and analytic engine mines the data and automatically increases coverage when the system detects positive actions.

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A prototype of the TipTalk device, developed by Innomdle Lab, is arranged for a photograph with a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 4 smartphone displaying the TipTalk app in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. Choi Hyun Chul, a Samsung Electronics engineer, developed a wristband that keeps eavesdroppers from listening to smartphone conversations. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

“The app operates like the Digit app, but while Digit looks at cashflow and transactions and automatically moves money into a savings account, we reward users with micro life insurance coverage if transactions improve users’ well-being,” Shetty points out.

Avibra uses a proprietary model to determine the activities that improve well-being. “We reward users with small increases in life insurance coverage at no cost for activities that positively impact well-being,” Shetty points out. “Users get additional coverage for paying a credit card balance on time – which improves financial well-being – or making charitable donations – which improves community connectedness. Even a subscription to Spotify is rewarded, since listening to music relieves stress.”

Although the app is already available via Apple and Google, Avibra did a soft launch of the life insurance feature in February, beginning with the 18 to 38 age group with plans to expand to age 54. “Because this is a unique concept, we wanted to stay in this mode for a few months to learn from a small community of users and iterate and refine our product and value proposition,” says Shetty.

A new feature included with the basic subscription service of $3.99 a month also triples the coverage of users when they connect to Uber, Lyft or Airplane mode in their app. Integrating these services into the insurance covers users in case of accidents.

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