The “Why” Behind Our Work
In 2014, I was a trusted financial advisor for a Fortune 500 insurance and investment company. As I sat in a continuing education class, I heard an alarming stat. The presenter explained that a very large number of life insurance policies go unclaimed for one reason or another. This fact seemed unimaginable to me at the time. I thought – how can so many policies go unclaimed? This question became my mission, to determine whether the statement was accurate, and if it could be solved. Due to my financial background, I believed (and still do) that life insurance companies want to pay claims – that is their number one priority. I assumed the issue could be a breakdown in communication amongst policyholders, life insurance companies, and beneficiaries.
Research and Realization
I began researching. I connected with insurance carriers, CFOs, claims professionals, attorneys, and many others. I then went to my own clients. I began asking questions, such as: What do you think happens to your life insurance policy should you pass away? The overwhelming response – the insurance company reaches out to my beneficiary and writes them a check. While this may be true for some companies, it is not the case for all companies. I began to wonder, if this was the correct process for a life insurance company to follow, why were so many policies going unclaimed?
I continued to research the claims process, delving deep into escheatment, unclaimed property laws and the 258-year-old process itself. I discovered costly audits were required by life insurance companies. And eventually, I confirmed the alarming statistic. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the individuals I interviewed either had a policy issue themselves or had heard of an incident from friends or family. In most cases, policyholders and beneficiaries don’t even know there is a problem, until it’s too late. After confirming a problem did exist, I knew I needed to help by creating a solution.
Introduction of Co-Founder Jason Dively
One of the individuals I interviewed became my co-founder the same year, Jason Dively. Jason was at his father’s funeral greeting people who were in attendance, when a gentleman walked up to him and his brother. The man said, “If you need help with any of the paperwork, let me know. I can help.” To which Jason replied, “What paperwork?”
The man proceeded to explain that Jason’s father had a life insurance policy through the state of Alabama, as an employee of the state. Jason realized, had this 10 second conversation not occurred, no one in their family would have known the policy existed. We discussed my mission to create a technology platform that could reduce or eliminate this problem. Jason immediately asked to be involved in this important project and became my co-founder.
Building for the Future
In 2016, we found Soven and Bobbie Shrivastav who fell in love with our mission and became an integral part of our team. Over the course of two years, we created the software as a service (SAAS) platform for life insurance companies, to allow them to proactively update policyholder information and manage beneficiary information. The platform revolutionizes the existing claims process, utilizing 100 percent digital technology and funds transfer within 48 hours, opposed to the typical process length of 45 to 60 days.
This platform is uniquely designed to help insurance companies comply with unclaimed property laws and do a better job of updating, notifying and processing claims in an efficient, compliant manner.
We were not on a mission to create yet another software platform. We were on a mission to create the platform of choice for insurance companies. Our future goals include diversifying the platform for any contract or account that lists a beneficiary.
We hope you enjoy the platform. You can help us accomplish our goals of escheating less monies to the states, pay more beneficiaries, and create a better relationship amongst insurance companies, policyholders, and beneficiaries.
- Brent Williams, Benekiva Founder and CEO