by Jamie Hale, Co-Founder and CEO @ Ladder
Money can’t buy you love. True, but love can alter how you construct your financial life.
Life insurance sits at the intersection of financial savviness and love. It’s a way to offload the idiosyncratic and rare (but catastrophic) risk of dying too early. It’s how people can be sure to take care of their people.
This is nothing new. Insurance was first created centuries ago as a way for neighbors and communities to have each others’ backs. For a small contribution, each individual could make sure the people they care about would be covered, if the unthinkable happened. Everyone banded together in tough times.
But somewhere along the line, that purpose became muddied. The process became painfully slow. The traditional life insurance industry has become reliant on commissioned sales agents, whose incentives can be heavily misaligned with those of their users. The insurance product most people need — a pure, term product — is the least profitable product for an agent. Inevitably, the whole business has become bloated with complex products, microscopic fine print, and mountains of paperwork. It is a cross-selling and up-selling gauntlet; users must navigate with a skeptical eye the arduous, near-impossible task of getting the insurance they want (and need).
It’s time for something better.
At Ladder, we are re-engineering life insurance from the ground up. Every single thing we do is for our users. We have taken a holistic approach. We haven’t just slapped a front-end marketing engine on top of the existing (broken) industry. Our integrated overhaul is much more difficult … but it’s better for the user, and it’s longer lasting. Ladder is refreshing and redeeming an important financial product, turning the life insurance industry right side up and back to where it’s supposed to be.
Why do I care about this so much?
My father died when I was 11 years old. Part of his deep, enduring legacy is that he had the forethought to get life insurance. That meant my brother, my mom, and I could stay in our house. We could be close to our friends and neighbors during a tough time. We had money for college.
That stability provided me with opportunity that changed my life. Or said differently: it allowed my dad to provide me a home and an education, even though he wasn’t there himself. He couldn’t prevent his death, but he could still profoundly impact my life.
There are widespread misconceptions about what life insurance is and what purpose it serves. At Ladder, we focus on this crisp framework: life insurance is a financial hedge against mortality risk. This clean approach gives users the best value and leaves the control of their investments in their very capable hands.
Life insurance is a classic risk management tool. It is a powerful device for people to use as they architect their financial strategy. At Ladder, we hope our product gives users financial zen so they can go live their marvelous lives.