Technology and human connection can strengthen families.

New York Life | February 14, 2022

fabric of family

The loss of a loved one often leaves families grieving and in distress, not just from the loss itself, but also from the logistical challenges that follow.

To provide support for both the emotional and logistical challenges that follow a loss, New York Life recently launched a concept partnership with Empathy. Empathy provides families with access to the information, guidance, and services they need after losing a loved one.

Combining technology and human connection, Empathy simplifies end-of-life bureaucracy, minimizes tedious tasks, and automates processes involved in the administration of an estate, so families can focus on mourning and being there for each other. Empathy also offers human support to provide users both emotional and practical assistance, creating a hybrid experience to help families navigate arrangements and grief.

"We strongly believe in the role that trusted human guidance, empowered by technology, plays in delivering long-term financial security and peace of mind."

—Sean Madgett

Head of Business Development, New York Life Ventures.

As Empathy CEO Ron Gura explains, “There’s no doubt that logistics are made hard by grief and grief is made harder by logistics. Technology can ease the burden.”

Sean Madgett, Head of Business Development for New York Life Ventures, notes, “We strongly believe in the role that trusted human guidance, empowered by technology, plays in delivering long-term financial security and peace of mind. To us, providing peace of mind goes beyond insuring a family’s financial stability and includes helping to insure a family’s bond, values, and legacy. This FamTech thematic focus aims to leverage those tools that support the strengthening of a family’s fabric.”

For almost a decade, New York Life Ventures has connected New York Life business units with startups to accelerate the pace of innovation for the benefit of the company’s policy owners. The FamTech theme involves a range of startups, including Empathy as well as additional examples discussed below*:

  • Storyworth helps families uncover their stories and memories and preserve them in keepsake books. Sharing family stories can help create and maintain emotional bonds, and it has also proven to help children develop a positive sense of identity, according to research conducted by Emory University’s Department of Psychology. Emory’s findings showed children who are exposed to stories about their families learn they belong to something bigger than themselves, and as a result, exude more self-confidence and resilience in the face of adversity.
  • A “SilverTech” startup, The Helper Bees matches private caregivers with those needing in-home assistance. According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, by 2026 there will be a sharp decline in the number of family caregivers for each person aged 80 and older as a result of the aging baby boomer generation. With rising demand for in-home assistance and shrinking families to provide support, platforms such as The Helper Bees help match individuals with caretakers based on the type of care needed and their personalities.
  • A New York Life Ventures portfolio company, Pivot is a digital health startup that pairs user-centric technology with human coaches to engage and empower smokers to quit. Smoking impacts families’ wellbeing, particularly from a health and financial perspective. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke exposure causes multiple health problems in infants and young children. The cost of smoking is not only a daily financial cost, but also can lead to higher costs for health and life insurance.

In partnering with startups that combine the best of technology with the power of human connection, New York Life aims to strengthen a family’s fabric and to continue to put policy owners first, evolving the life insurance industry in the process.


About New York Life Ventures:

Founded in 2012, New York Life Ventures is New York Life’s strategic Corporate Venture Capital unit focused on investing in promising venture startups and select funds, exploring new technologies, and impacting the pace of innovation and competitive advantage for New York Life. The unit is comprised of three highly interconnected functions: Venture Investments, Business Development, and Innovation Services and is headquartered in the Flatiron District in New York City.

*Empathy, Storyworth, The Helper Bees, and Pivot are not affiliated with New York Life. Empathy’s service is provided at no cost to eligible New York Life beneficiaries. New York Life policy owners are offered a discounted price for a Storyworth subscription. New York Life uses The Helper Bees for the provision of administrative services including billing and timekeeping. New York Life Ventures is an investor in Pivot.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937