It's probable that few advisors have heard of Modern Life, but the insurtech/advisortech startup intends to give financial advisors that are licensed to sell insurance a leg up on nonhybrid competitors and those using more traditional insurance brokerages.
On Tuesday, the company, which describes itself as a tech-enabled life insurance brokerage for advisors, announced the addition of long-term care insurance and hybrid long-term care insurance to the many other life insurance products—from 25 national carriers—it already generates comparisons on for advisors.
“When it comes to LTC, we are at the confluence of two big trends, people aging and needing late-in-life care, and care costs that just keep going up and up,” said Michael Konialian, co-founder and CEO of Modern Life, “and the more recent thing is the collapse of the stand-alone LTC market.”
The statistics related to long-term care will be startling to most people.
For example, someone turning 65 today has an almost 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administrations on Aging and for Community Living.
Women need care longer, on average 3.7 years, whereas for men it's an average of 2.2 years—and while one-third of today's 65-year-olds may never need long-term care support, 20% will need it for longer than five years, according to the same data.
And costs for long-term care rose on average between 2% and 6% (depending on the type of care) for the five years between 2017 and 2021, according to the 18th annual “Cost of Care” study published by Genworth Financial in February 2022.
The fully digital Modern Life platform, which supports permanent and term-life insurance, annuities and variable products, in addition to the newly announced long-term care insurance and hybrid long-term care products, is meant to help advisors find the product that best matches their client’s specific needs.
Using the platform, advisors request quotes for long-term care through a digital and shareable form that takes the friction out of more traditional paper forms–based processes when collecting client data.
“Across the Modern Life experience, from the digital forms and applications to the insurance requirements, to the comparisons and quotes, the overall lifecycle, you are able to do all of it through our platform,” said Konialian. “With other providers you get at partial solutions and end up re-keying a lot of data—with our platform it is all interconnected, and easy to use, even when it comes to complex [client insurance] cases.”
In fact, Mike Laatsch, president and financial advisor at Innovative Planning, knows the pain of working with legacy insurance brokers lacking in technology.
“We’ve been on three different platforms before we started using Modern Life,” he said of his firm, which launched in 2016 and now has five in-house financial advisors, two devoted to planning, one with a CFA who is focused on investment management, as well as an in-house CPA.
“eMoney and MoneyGuidePro can only get you so far,” he said when asked about existing financial planning products focused on accumulation-phase planning and legacy insurance planning applications.
“We will take each client plan and perform a risk analysis through our in-house planning department, and in the end, based on client data, we come back with where there are gaps in coverage, if say, you have an event where you need to go into care and we provide that to Modern Life,” said Laatsch.
“We lean on Modern Life to come back with the specifics [in terms of comparisons and quotes] and that is the other side that held us up in the past—got stuck with going through the three to four different carriers in a timely fashion with quotes,” he said, which could take a week or longer.
Modern Life, he said performs all the due diligence and gets back to his firm in, on average, two days with quotes from multiple carriers.
“Probably an even bigger difference is that the presentation is all developed and fully customized to each client and with their data, whereas in the past we’d get the quotes back from the carriers and we’d have to put together our own presentations,” said Laatsch.
Advisor Vance Barse, an outspoken advisor-industry speaker on insurance matters and founder of Your Dedicated Fiduciary, said there are too few cutting-edge technology providers when it comes to helping clients find the right insurance. As an advisor licensed to sell insurance, he works with dozens of carriers to find the right fit for his own clients.
“The easier and more seamless you can make it for fiduciary financial advisors using, advising on or recommending insurance to their clients is going to be popular,” he said, though he has not yet seen or used the Modern Life platform.
Headquartered in New York, and with a staff of 20, Modern Life launched in 2021 and came out of stealth in August 2022 with $15 million in seed funding.
That funding was led by Thrive Capital (which is also an investor in the tech-enabled RIA Savvy Wealth), along with 12 founders from startups that have attained unicorn status, including At Bay, Cedar, Flatiron Health, Hippo, Lattice, Newfront, Plaid, Reddit and Vouch.
“There are 500,000 financial professionals, but with our platform we are targeting only the top advisors in the field,” said Konialian.