Insurtech Startup Bestow Aims to Go National With New Acquisition

The 125-person company is currently hiring for 30 individuals, with openings in engineering, marketing, underwriting and more.

Written by Nona Tepper
Published on Dec. 04, 2020
Insurtech Startup Bestow Aims to Go National With New Acquisition
bestow
Photo: Bestow

A new acquisition aims to make a hometown darling a national insurance carrier.

On Tuesday, digital life insurance startup Bestow announced a plan to purchase the Iowa-based Centurion Life Insurance Company — an insurance provider in 47 states and the District of Columbia — from Wells Fargo. Jonathan Abelmann, Bestow’s president and co-founder, said the new company will operate under the Bestow Life Insurance Company name and, pending regulatory approval, will close sometime in the first quarter of 2021. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“By becoming a nationally licensed carrier through this acquisition, Bestow can drive further innovation in product design, pricing, underwriting and distribution,” Abelmann wrote in an email to Built In.

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Purchasing life insurance generally requires a medical exam and an appointment with an in-person agent, a process that can stretch up to six weeks to secure a new policy, Abelmann said. Through Bestow, individuals can purchase a new policy in just five minutes.

The company’s AI system crunches up to 3,000 data points — asking applicants questions like their age, criminal history, driving records and more — to determine an applicant’s level of risk and if they’re a good fit for Bestow’s 10- or 20-year policies.

The acquisition builds on recent growth for Bestow, which Abelmann credited to the financial and health upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bestow is uniquely suited to reach and serve customers who prefer a fully digital and instant buying experience, without having to physically interact with agents or medical professionals like traditional companies require,” Abelmann said. “As a result, we have had a banner year, with policy sales up more than 450 percent.”

In 2021, he said the startup plans to add new life insurance products, as well as refine the UX and product flow experience on its homegrown platform. Bestow has raised $67.5 million in venture funding.

The 125-person company is currently hiring for 30 individuals, with openings in engineering, marketing, underwriting and more.

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