Finding the value at the intersection of technology and life insuranceNew York Life Ventures white-paper dives deeper into the implications of LifeTech for the future of the life insurance sector
September 24, 2019 — NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New York Life Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of New York Life, today released “Emerging LifeTech ecosystem promises profound impacts on life insurance,” a whitepaper that dives deeper into the implications of LifeTech for the future of the life insurance sector.
LifeTech – an emerging start-up ecosystem distinctly different from the prevailing InsurTech landscape –features technologies that address the specific challenges faced by life insurance companies and was first coined by New York Life Ventures in 2018. Since then, as the whitepaper notes, start-up founders and investors have ramped up their focus on empowering incumbent insurance companies.
According to Joel Albarella, head of New York Life Ventures, “The value at the intersection of technology and life insurance has yet to be fully realized and the start-ups with the most promise are often new to the insurance industry; herein lies the embedded potential of this growing LifeTech ecosystem.”
Enabling Start-Ups and Existing Value-Chains
The whitepaper explains that LifeTech includes both enabling and adjacent technologies. Enabling start-ups are those that directly support existing value chains within the industry while adjacent ones deliver technologies whose offerings may become complementary to life insurance companies over time. In both cases, a key theme for the New York Life Ventures team is effectively combining the power of humans and technology to deliver exponentially more value than choosing one over the other.
Case studies of New York Life Ventures portfolio company Carrot, a start-up at the forefront of the digital health and wellness space, and portfolio company Trifacta, a leader in the data wrangling space, appear in the whitepaper as well. New York Life Ventures’ newest portfolio addition, Cogito, is another enabling start-up by delivering real-time emotional intelligence solutions for humans to act on.
“There is a massive opportunity to create value in the life insurance industry and profoundly impact the space’s future by connecting with start-ups operating both inside and outside the sector,” added Albarella. “This has been New York Life Ventures’ focus since our 2012 founding and we continue to derive value from this approach.”
Excerpts From The Emerging LifeTech ecosystem promises profound impacts on life insurance whitepaper
LifeTech vs InsurTech
Even though life insurance is fundamentally different from other lines of insurance, New York Life Ventures found that technologies relevant for various insurance lines were often lumped together in a general “InsurTech” category, born out of the FinTech movement. The team saw InsurTech as an imperfect proxy for life insurance and defined LifeTech as a start-up ecosystem distinctly different from the prevailing InsurTech landscape. LifeTech involves both enabling and adjacent technologies. Enabling technologies are those that directly support existing value chains within the industry.
Data preparation and data analytics technologies are promising examples of these enablers, as they more quickly derive actionable insights from an insurer’s huge streams of data. Adjacent technologies in the LifeTech space are those start-ups that aren’t InsurTech-focused at all, but whose offerings may become complementary to life insurance companies over time.
Examples include start-ups in the digital health space. New York Life Ventures estimates that only 20 percent of the start-ups tracked by the team overlap with the InsurTech world.
Start-up founders and investors have recently ramped up their focus on enabling incumbent insurance companies. The opportunity to create value in the life insurance space by connecting with those outside the industry is massive. The corporate venture capital teams of major life insurers are starting to invest accordingly.
Investing in LifeTech
Many of the companies in the New York Life Ventures portfolio are a reflection of the team exploring the start-up world though a LifeTech lens. With a mission to add value and support to both relevant start-ups and to New York Life, the team’s efforts include:
- seeking new technologies to power the future of the life insurance sector;
- harnessing the power that exists at the intersection of humans and technology, where combining the two delivers exponentially more value than choosing one over the other; and
- driving growth through a proprietary model that connects partners with New York Life’s resources. This includes a fully staffed business development team focused on helping accelerate the growth of start-ups.
New York Life Ventures’ “Emerging LifeTech ecosystem promises profound impacts on life insurance” whitepaper is available here.
About New York Life Ventures
Since 2012, New York Life Ventures has connected the strength of New York Life with the speed and agility of the start-up community. In relentlessly seeking new technologies that will power the future of New York Life’s life insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities, and asset management businesses, the team utilizes a strategic testing and investing approach that has a proven track record of driving opportunity and growth for start-ups and the ongoing evolution of New York Life. With a fully staffed research and development lab, New York Life Ventures enables a build capability for New York Life and, with its Innovation Services unit, fosters a network of innovation internally at the company.