It's a very exciting time for me and the team, because today we're announcing the launch of yulife. As the founding CEO of yulife, I wanted to say a few words on the inception of yulife and the journey that led me to start this business.
When I was still at university, I built a business with my late father. But while I enjoyed the success that came with creating a startup, I wasn't looking after myself mentally and physically. I was burnt out and inevitably, I crashed.
I had to take some time off for myself, and decided to dedicate it to finding new technology that will help me refresh. My journey led me to different countries - from Arizona in the US all the way to the Galilee in Israel - where I spent time learning about the small lifestyle changes that can impact our health greatly.
Over the past several years I've assembled an amazing group of people and partners who share the same vision - trying to build a new type of workplace that puts people first. We believe that it's not just the right thing to do, but also the best business choice.
The L Word
Life insurance normally makes people uncomfortable. Nobody wants to think about death, and especially not about the bureaucracy that comes with it. But life insurance wasn't always like this: it used to be a force for good, a source of comfort.
Life insurance as a concept started with the Greek and Roman benevolent societies. The Romans believed that a person who was not buried properly would not move on to the next world, so citizens paid a monthly fee to a club which took care of funerals for their members and cared for their surviving families.
Insurance used to be social even after the Romans. The famous Lloyds of London, for example, started as a coffee shop. But that social, benevolent part seems like a thing of the past now. It's not a club, not even a coffee shop - it's a faceless standing order. And that model has to change.
In fact, for the last 250 years, life insurance hasn't changed. Even the same structure of mortality tables is used today, although our lives are so different now. The average life expectancy is not 40 years anymore - it's 80. And death is caused less and less by unforeseen circumstances - but by the epidemic of chronic illnesses. In fact, the top 5 causes of premature death in England are cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and liver disease - all of which can be mitigated with better lifestyle choices.
This means insurers can do something to help their clients live a longer, happier life. However, life insurance today has become a zero-sum game: if the client wins, the company loses - and if the company wins, the client loses.
But that's so counterproductive. Think about it - insurers and clients have the same objective. The longer the client lives, the better it is for both the client and the insurance company.
That's what I wanted to do with yulife. I wanted to create an insurance company that doesn't only take care of you in death, but also in life. An insurance company that actually improves your lifestyle - a lifestyle insurance company, if you will.
A big part of that is simplifying the process. The best way to do that in the 21st century is to bring tech into insurance, a tool that the industry in the UK hasn’t been using enough. Technology is used to bring wellbeing to the next level by integrating all the best digital health and wellbeing tools into our app, but also make the insurance process easier, quicker (it only takes 5 minutes to get insurance!) and more transparent for customers.
It's no coincidence that we picked the giraffe as our mascot. Not only does the giraffe have the biggest heart of all land animals, but the giraffe's long neck also gives it perspective, and we think that taking in the lessons of the past while focusing on the future sets the foundation of building a new type of insurance company. Every giraffe has a completely unique pattern, and we are strong believers in personalising health for our members - the simple steps to improve health should be moulded into the context of people's lives.
Life insurance should be a force for good - this is at the heart of what yulife is all about. So we've created a company that's all win-win, on a mission to make people's lives better. I hope to see you on this journey with us.