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

At Haven Life, our team tries to walk the talk. 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.

When do you need to get life insurance?

At Haven Life, our team tries to walk the talk. 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 over 100 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.

And, we’d like to share.

Me, Brittney Burgett, Marketing & Communications Director

I bought a Haven Term policy about two weeks ago. I’m getting married soon, and we were launching the new Haven Life, so I offered to test drive our experience before it went live. (My new claim to fame is that I qualified for our InstantTerm process, which means I didn’t need to take a life insurance medical exam either.)

While my fiance, Clayton, and I have no debt, we do have plans to buy a home soon. I know coverage is more affordable the younger and healthier you are, so I decided to take advantage and lock in a low rate. My 30-year, $500,000 policy will last until we’re both closer to retirement, and by then we plan to have more assets squared away.

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!

As for Brittney, good luck on that discount!

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, General Manager

I purchased life insurance for the very first time in 2014, and not from Haven Life. Let me explain. I was 47, and the past two years had been a whirlwind of life events for me. I was married, had my first child and also became a first-time homeowner.

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 occurred 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, after all.

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, my wife and I started to rethink our coverage needs. While hanging out on the couch, with coffee and an iPad, we decided to estimate our rate 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 hope to have a decision (not to mention a dependable and affordable policy) soon.

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.

As you can clearly see, life insurance is a very personal product. No two experiences with it are identical. What is consistent (and important) however is that you take the time to at least consider your coverage needs. You may need life insurance. You may not. It may even be more affordable than you think.

When you’re ready to start the conversation and create your life insurance story, we’ll be here to help.

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About Brittney Burgett

Brittney Burgett is the marketing and communications director at Haven Life, a customer-centric life insurance agency backed and wholly owned by MassMutual. She joined the startup more than five years ago as one of the first ten employees and oversees external communications, content, SEO and various other growth marketing initiatives. Brittney is a passionate leader who believes that managing your financial life doesn't need to be intimidating or complicated and brings that philosophy to all the editorial and brand work at Haven Life. Prior to her role at Haven Life, Brittney worked in public relations, her client list included brands in the tech, food and nutrition spaces.

Read more by Brittney Burgett

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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