If life insurance could start over,
this is what it would be.
Confessions of a Life Insurance Startup: Who Owns a Policy?

Confessions of a Life Insurance Startup: Who Owns a Policy?

Brittney BurgettBrittney Burgett Communications Director, Haven Life

At Haven Life, our team tries to walk the talk in our personal lives. We invest with roboadvisers. We believe Venmo truly has made splitting bills a lot easier. We use every car service app available in New York City. And, we buy life insurance when we need it.

That being said, on our team of about 20 people, not all of us have life insurance.

But, for those of us who don’t own a policy, we have a good rationale and understanding of why we haven’t taken the plunge yet. For those who do have a life insurance policy, I’d argue we have even better stories to tell.

Me, Brittney Burgett, Marketing Manager

I don’t have life insurance.

I’m almost 27 years old, single and have a very minute amount of student debt. It’s not my time yet. However, you can bet I’ll buy a policy once I get married and have someone who depends on me to help pay the bills. Or, once I buy a home of my own – assuming my mom will co-sign that loan.

I’m looking to our CEO Yaron for an employee discount when that time comes (haha). Cross your fingers for me.

Mark Sayre, Underwriting Product Manager

I am the proud owner of a Haven Term* policy! In fact, I was one of our first customers.

It may seem odd – I’m 31, single with no kids, and I have a small amount of coverage through my employer benefits. However, I have additional coverage for a few reasons. I bought a house in 2013, and I still have a sizable mortgage that I am working to pay down every month. If something were to happen to me, I don’t want my mortgage to become a burden on my parents or my siblings.

Also, I know that now is the time to buy and get the best price. I’m still young and very healthy, with plans to get married and have kids someday. Having ample life insurance coverage now is one less thing to worry about when that time comes!
Just a friendly reminder as you’re going through underwriting (which is when we determine how much your policy will be): I like wine, good food and the opera! Best to send that care package before you apply so I can take care of those underwriting algorithms (kidding!!).

As for Brittney, good luck on that discount!

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Ari Braha, Head of Operations

With a wife, two kids, and a house, I have a fair amount of life insurance. It’s not the coolest nor most tangible expense I have, but out of all my expenses, it makes me feel the best. Why? Because every other problem life throws, I’m there to help my family solve, but not this one.

John Latona, Head of Marketing

I purchased life insurance for the very first time just last year, and not from Haven Life. Let me explain. I’m 47, and these past two years have been a whirlwind of life events for me. I was married, had my first child and also became a first-time homeowner.

Last fall, I knew I needed life insurance, and I needed it right away.

Unfortunately, Haven Life had not yet launched and I couldn’t afford to wait….and, honestly, I was eager to gain firsthand experience on the traditional process of purchasing term life.

I found a great agent (thanks, Yaron!), and as an educated customer (I do work in the industry, after all) I thought it would be a snap. But it still took over 90 days from start to finish. Lots of faxing and re-sending fine-print documents back and forth. Maybe not a typical experience, but for me it was time-consuming and frustrating. It also gave me a great perspective on how we could change things to make the process simpler, faster and easier for our customers at Haven Life.

In the end, it was a big relief to know that my (very new) family was covered and will be taken care of should I die.

Wojciech Sobocinski, Solutions Architect

Being married, with a child, a mortgage and a car loan, I always thought my employer sponsored plans were sufficient. However, I’ve learned that the “what ifs” of life can prove the employer sponsored life insurance plan quite insufficient. For one thing, what would have occured if something happened to me while I was in between jobs? An employer provided policy is only active while you’re employed with the company, afterall.

Or, what would happen if we decide to take an early retirement? Life insurance rates drastically increase as you get older, and I’d hate to choose between having no protection for my family and substantially cutting into our retirement funds to pay for that protection.

After joining Haven Life a couple months ago, my wife and I started to rethink our coverage needs. While hanging out on the couch, with coffee and an iPad, we decided to take a look at the sample quotes on the Haven Life website. It was then that I realized my current coverage is not only insufficient for my family’s needs, but also made me again reconsider what would happen in the event of a break in coverage? What would happen to my family without both my income and the lack of a life insurance policy?

This has now become a major topic of conversation at our dinner table. Even our son is getting in on the conversation, and I’m happy we’re giving him this very important lesson now. My wife and I are shopping for a plan that will fulfill our needs today and years down the line. We’re hoping that plan will be a Haven Term policy (waiting for it to become available in NY).

I’d hate to think of what would happen to my family if I wasn’t there for them, and want to make sure that they would at least be adequately protected financially.

Todd Rodgers, CTO, Haven Insurance Technology

Although I procrastinated for years after having my first kid, I finally decided I really needed life insurance when I started seeing reports forecasting what college expenses would be when my two kids reach college age (yes, it’s that scary – if you haven’t checked then maybe you shouldn’t…)

I’m occasionally known to over-analyze things just a bit, so even after I decided to get life insurance, actually working my way through the array of options did take me quite a while – about three months. To the agent I was working with it probably felt like three years due to the number of questions I asked and examples and illustrations I requested. I ended up with a basic term life policy to ensure coverage of mortgage costs and at least a portion of the education costs, without paying a huge amount every year.


There you have it. We have a pretty good showing for life insurance policy holders, but we’re very enthused to know Wojciech has learned a thing or two about coverage needs since joining the team.

While we’re at it, we might as well add in a shameless plug and encourage you to find out the right coverage for your financial situation. Think of it as peace of mind.

Life insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all. Find out how much coverage you really need.

P.S. We didn’t give our CEO, Yaron, the spotlight this time. You can read his story here.