By BÉRÉNICE MAGISTRETTI for Venturebeat
Parents’ worry for their children often leads them to what should be a simple decision: life insurance. But the process can be complex and expensive. Fabric wants to change that by providing a straightforward mobile solution that bypasses commission-driven insurance agents. The Brooklyn-based startup launched today and announced a seed round of $2.5 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners.
Fabric, which is fully licensed as an insurance agency, built an entirely digital process through which customers can purchase policies issued directly from insurance provider Vantis Life. “If customers ever have a question, we offer support from licensed insurance agents,” wrote Adam Erlebacher, cofounder and CEO of Fabric, in an email to VentureBeat. “Most other insurance websites funnel inquiries to insurance agents who have an incentive to sell complex insurance policies such as whole life insurance that pay them high commissions.”
According to Erlebacher, if you’re aged 25 to 44, accidental death is your single biggest risk. Rather than force a whole life insurance plan upon these individuals, the company offers Fabric Instant, which starts at six dollars per month for $100,000 in accidental death coverage. “Experts suggest purchasing at least five times your annual salary in coverage,” he wrote. “So if you make $50,000, you’d want at least $250,000 in coverage.” Fabric Instant is $15 per month for $250,000.
If customers wish to add illnesses to their policy, they can upgrade to Fabric Premium, a 20-year term life insurance that provides coverage from $100,000 to over $5 million (in $50,000 increments). This option is priced based on the person’s health and lifestyle.
Erlebacher claims that signing up for life insurance using Fabric takes about two minutes. “We tested an app but found that customers didn’t want to download an app to buy insurance,” he wrote. The service is therefore browser-based for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops. The startup just wrapped up its private beta but declined to disclose its customer count at this point.
Erlebacher views incumbents like MetLife and Haven Life (a division of MassMutual) as Fabric’s main competitors. “Rather than rely on incumbents’ technology, we took the time to design a new insurance product from the ground up,” he wrote. Ladder Life is another startup competing in this market.
Joining Bessemer in this round were Box Group, Brainchild (Kal Vepuri), Maveron, Red Sea Ventures, and RGAx. This brings Fabric’s total raised to $2.8 million since it was founded in 2015. The new money will be used for hiring to expand Fabric’s current team of seven employees.