With New York Life Ventures marking 10 years as New York Life’s corporate venture capital business, Joel Albarella, the group’s founder and head, recently shared his perspectives with Private Wealth in a Q&A titled “How Insurtech Has Altered The Life Insurance Industry.”
Having executed over 65 venture capital investments and worked with over 235 startups to facilitate “proof of concept” tests with teams across New York Life, Albarella highlighted the evolution of InsurTech and the human element continuing to play a central part in life insurance.
“Within InsurTech today, there are many technologies with relevancy to insurers that aren’t focused on the business of insurance specifically speaking, but more on the operational aspects of running large and long-standing organizations regardless of industry vertical,” explains Albarella. “Of course, we also very much recognize the importance of the advisor, the policy owner, the beneficiaries, and the families involved and strive to do our part in setting a new standard for what the customer experience could and should be: more seamless, customer-centric, and digitally enabled.”
Reflecting on New York Life Ventures’ business model, Albarella notes that the conventional wisdom when the team was founded in 2012 was that to succeed as a corporate venture capital group the team would need to commit to either being a strategic investor focused on startups with relevance for New York Life or one focused on financial returns. The team’s objective since day one was to be both. The group has succeeded by consistently leveraging partnerships with startups while delivering top quartile investment returns. In addition, the team creates impact by driving the evolution of innovative mindsets across New York Life and supporting internal strategic initiatives by applying human-centered design principles and techniques – a key upskilling required to fuel a growth mindset across the company.
Looking ahead, Joel shares, “Of the many trends we watch, two of particular interest to us at New York Life Ventures are the democratization of access to and the re-bundling of the financial services stack. We expect tremendous innovation in these spaces and are excited about what this will mean for traditionally underserved communities.”
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