We’re excited to announce that Bluezone Insurance is now live!
This is the story of how one insurtech is set to make a difference for people with chronic illness through proactive life insurance.
Bluezone is giving hope to the millions of people with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK through its algorithm-led life insurance offering. Finally, fairly-priced and easily-accessible cover for people with this chronic condition has hit the market.
Last year, the startup successfully raised £1.5m in funding, secured authorisations to sell insurance and (re)insurance partners, to help to create a brighter future for the chronically unwell. Its first, state-of-the-art, insurance product has recently launched with the full backing of Europe’s largest diabetes community – Diabetes.co.uk.
From doctor to insurer
Bluezone is the brainchild of former medical doctor, Karan Mehta. Karan was always interested in how it might be possible to help people live longer, healthier lives and becoming a doctor seemed a natural step.
He worked in clinical medicine for several years but decided to forge a new path after becoming disillusioned by the growing imbalance in demand and supply of healthcare resources – too many patients and too few healthcare professionals were leading to an overworked workforce and a suboptimal delivery of services. He was also interested in focusing his attention on the prevention and proactive treatment of diseases.
“As a doctor, I always felt restricted by how much impact I could have. I was limited to the patients on the ward or in the surgery and fine-tuning the doses of prescribed medication.
The reactive nature of the healthcare system was frustrating, I wanted to take a proactive approach and treat the root causes of illnesses. This led me to explore other ways that would facilitate helping many more individuals live healthier lives.”
Karan was ready to use his expert medical skills in a new way, but how did insurance become part of the picture?
Insurance for people with chronic illness
A chat with his uncle, who has Type 2 Diabetes, made him realise just how hard it can be for people with chronic illnesses to secure affordable life insurance and was the spark leading to the creation of Bluezone.
“As I considered my post-medical career, my uncle who has Type 2 Diabetes told me about how he struggled to access life insurance. He had to provide lots of medical information to insurers before receiving a quote but still found premiums very expensive. It took him two and a half years to buy a policy and as you can imagine he found the process extremely stressful and frustrating.
This led me to research the problem in depth and I found that globally millions of people with chronic diseases, not just Type 2 Diabetes, struggle to access insurance. At the same time, the number of people with chronic illnesses is skyrocketing and many more will need an insurance solution in the future.”
Karan had found an underserved market and was confident that with the right data set, team and partnerships, they could build a sophisticated underwriting, pricing, and distribution strategy.
Karan found the perfect co-founder in Chris Bracegirdle – a talented entrepreneur with a PhD in Machine Learning from University College London. Together, they grew the team and got to work developing proprietary machine learning algorithms that can predict all-cause mortality risk for individuals with chronic illnesses. This advanced technology – that came out of Karan’s ongoing PhD research into the development and validation of all-cause mortality risk prediction algorithms for Type 2 Diabetes individuals – goes beyond traditional underwriting methods that are based on static rating tables and spreadsheets.
But, to become a fully-fledged managing general agent (MGA) Bluezone would need to be approved and regulated by the FCA and get backing from a reinsurer. This is where Insurtech Gateway’s Incubator, which has propelled numerous insurtechs to success, could lend a hand.
“Insurtech Gateway has been a huge support to Bluezone and was fundamental in helping us become regulated. We received Appointed Representative status in only two months thanks to their support. Without Gateway the process could have taken more than a year.” Karan details.
Gateway was also instrumental in helping Bluezone to gain crucial reinsurer support. “Gateway also helped us secure reinsurance support by pitching the investment thesis, the commercial opportunity Bluezone was going after and the positive impact our solution can make.”
It is always an exciting moment when partnerships come together. For Bluezone having a reinsurer was vital for the business and validated all the team’s hard work and that the unique solution was going to be something they could launch.
“As a startup, we have been through many highs and lows since we launched, but the key breakthrough moment for me was when Gen Re, our reinsurer, having carried out deep due diligence agreed to provide reinsurance support.”
An exciting opportunity
The business also received financial investment from venture capitalist firm, AV8. The investor is hugely excited by the market identified by Bluezone. One of its General Partners, Amir Kabir, comments:
“Chronic conditions are a growing concern globally, with approximately one in three adults suffering from multiple chronic conditions.
Bluezone’s understanding of the market, coupled with their passion and experience, were key factors that got us excited about this investment. With their innovative approach and commitment to serving the needs of the chronically ill community, Bluezone is transforming the life insurance market, making it more accessible and equitable for all.”
Alastair Gerrard, Head of Sales, Marketing and Account Management at Gen Re, is also impressed with the size of the opportunity for Bluezone and the robust, technology-led underwriting and application process the dedicated team has developed.
“Type 2 diabetics make up an increasing proportion of the population. This market is underserved and growing. A new entrant to the market specifically targeting Type 2 diabetics and trying to offer them immediate cover and competitive tailored pricing is exciting for us. We like that Bluezone is using up-to-date technology throughout the underwriting and application process.”
When speaking to Charlotte Summers, Founding Chief of Operations at Diabetes.co.uk she shared the most recent statistics.
“Around 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, with 90% of these cases being Type 2. This figure is predicted to rise to 5.3 million by 2025. It’s a significant problem, one that demands innovative solutions and effective care strategies. We’ve cultivated a thriving community at Diabetes.co.uk, the largest of its kind globally, with over 750K members. It’s a unique platform for shared experiences, knowledge, and support, which are incredibly vital in managing a condition like Type 2 diabetes.
Collaborating with Bluezone gives us a chance to introduce these resources to an even wider audience. With Bluezone’s insurance solutions and our digital therapy, we are not just offering a service – we are creating an ecosystem that supports health and wellbeing in a holistic sense.”
Launching a solution
Bluezone’s life insurance product for people with Type 2 Diabetes launched this June and has the full support of Europe’s largest diabetes community – Diabetes.co.uk
“Our decision to partner with Bluezone is inspired by a shared vision and our strong belief in mutual synergy. Bluezone’s instant life insurance quote service offers a lifeline of support to people with type 2 diabetes who often face challenging obstacles in securing insurance. At DDM Health, we champion accessibility and comprehensive care for all, making our partnership with Bluezone a perfect alignment of values and mission.
But beyond that, it’s about conveying a powerful message – that a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t place anyone beyond the reach of essential services. In short, our partnership aims to transform, to enable, and to empower.”
Recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes?
Bluezone offers specialist term life insurance for those with Type 2 Diabetes. You can now get a same-day quote for the cover you need in as little as 10 minutes. All you need to do is complete the simple online application – if you’re approved, you can be covered even before your first payment!
To zoom through your application fast, have your list of medications and a few basic health metrics to hand. Need a bit of help? Bluezone’s online calculators make it easy, and their dedicated support is on standby to assist you.
Creating a better future
Bluezone is not going to stop at diabetes. Karan has plans to continue innovating and create life insurance solutions for people with all kinds of chronic illnesses.
As investor Amir points out:
“Bluezone’s innovative technology provides an opportunity to bridge the gap in life insurance for chronic conditions while expanding their reach into other markets, such as the US. In the US alone, 60% of adults suffer from chronic diseases, which have significant implications for both health and lifespan.”
And Bluezone’s plans go far beyond insurance. As part of the offering they are planning to build an app to help their customers create sustainable habits for the long term and reduce the risk of claims. Supporting customers to reduce their own risk by providing personalised health advice is an essential piece of the puzzle.
As Karan says:
“With this philosophy, we intend to improve the lives of those with chronic diseases by offering life insurance that empowers customers to live healthier lives.
This is why Insurance is appealing as it offers a unique shared value business model where if we make customers healthier, we pay fewer claims and thus become more profitable. Therefore financial incentives are aligned with the health incentives of the customer. My vision for the future is to deliver proactive and precision healthcare at scale through insurance products.”
Get in touch
If you have founded a pre-seed or seed insurtech that helps an underserved market – and are looking for support and funding – we have the experience and the tools to help you get to market faster. Check out our incubator and venture fund or get in touch.