Insuretech is on the rise. The last couple of years saw companies like Haven Life, Ladder, Ethos, and Bestow use big data to perform Accelerated Underwriting—- completely bypassing traditional means of underwriting which typically takes weeks or months to complete.
These companies agree that one of the biggest reasons why people don’t bother getting life insurance is the hassle of signing up for a policy. They believe that if you remove the friction of purchasing life insurance, more people will get coverage. However, based on the number of policyholders who signed up in the last few years, it indeed seems to be the case.
Today, we’re doing an in-depth review of the life insurance offering of one of these companies—-Bestow. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the company, what they offer, its pros and cons, and our recommendation.
History of Bestow
Launched in 2016 with its roots in Dallas, founders Melbourne O’Banion and Jonathan Abelmann created Bestow to address the challenges brought about by traditional life insurance.
Bestow, like other Insuretech companies, are not exactly insurance providers. They are independent agents and third-party administrators who provide the API and technology, underwriting, sales, and support that allows accelerated underwriting and the conveniences of Insuretech (quick approval, full online application, no medical exam, etc.,) to customers.
The actual insurance is provided by their partner company, North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®. They’re the ones who will process and pay the actual life insurance claims.
Bestow Financial Ratings
As mentioned above, Bestow has partnered with North American which has been in operation since 1886, with almost 600,000 life insurance and annuities with assets in the billions. They have been rated A+ (Superior) by insurance rating agency A.M. Best.
Munich RE is one of the biggest reinsurers in the United States. Founded in 1959, they provide life and disability reinsurance to insurance companies. They have been given an A+ (Superior) rating by A.M Best as well.
How Does Bestow Work?
Now, traditional life insurance underwriting often requires the following steps:
- Completing application forms, answering health questions
- Taking the medical exam
- In-person interviews (along with a couple of initial screening sessions done via phone).
All these require human operators to perform and follow a specific chain of processes which sometimes causes bottlenecks.
Accelerated Underwriting uses technology that utilizes databases for collecting information needed to assess the eligibility and risk of someone applying for a policy. In other words, at its core it is an algorithm that reads and analyzes both your application data and the information it gathers from outside sources. Thus, it’s really no different from what a human underwriter does, except that this technology allows them to do it at a much quicker rate and reduced potential human decision bias.
Bestow gets information from data vendors for verifying your identity, reviewing your prescription history, financial data, and motor vehicle reports. Here are some of the most common data vendors that Insuretech companies work with for getting the data they need:
One of the most important pieces of information needed for deciding your risk category is from the Medical Information Bureau. It’s a membership corporation formed by insurance companies that shares data among members for determining a person’s health or life insurance information within the last 7 years.
The government considers them a consumer reporting agency which is why they are required to adhere to the US Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. They follow the same disclosure rules just like other credit reporting agencies.
Motor Vehicle Report
Used to check your driving records for any history of DUI, DWI, or other vehicle-related incidents. Data pulled from this will be used for the assessment of the amount of risk you carry when driving a motor vehicle.
Prescription History Report
It provides insight into a person’s prescription history and makes approximations on any diagnosis you may have on the report. Companies who collect and maintain prescription data are required to adhere to HIPAA Laws and cannot sell or share it without your permission.
Bestow Life Insurance Products
As of this writing, Bestow only offers term life insurance. They have two types of plans available, a 2-year plan and a choice between 10 or 20 year term plan.
Bestow 2-Year Term Life Insurance
Bestow describes it as, “Built for those who know life insurance is important but aren’t ready to make a long-term decision”. For as little as $5 per month, for example, you can get a $50,000 coverage for two years. But who exactly is Bestow’s 2-year term plan for? Here are a couple of scenarios that could find a great use for this type of coverage:
Going through a transition
A 2-year term plan provides protection during transition periods in your career (shifting jobs) or education (graduate school).
Want to try life insurance
Life insurance is a huge commitment that requires due diligence in order to successfully execute your financial goals. However, if you find yourself too overwhelmed with all the choices and want more time to prepare, getting a quick 2-year coverage can provide protection for your loved ones while you figure out your long term options.
Small Business Owner
Coverage for your short-term expenses as you build your business is always a good idea. It gives your loved ones some form of financial protection against business debt that may have been incurred during its operation.
Having zero access to employer benefits is one of the biggest cons of working as a full-time freelancer. A 2-year term plan will provide your loved ones a significant benefit and yourself the peace of mind.
Also, it perfectly fits your needs too if you only plan on doing freelance work temporarily and would like to have coverage while you do it. Then, you can switch to a longer-term policy when you get back to your regular day job.
If you’re currently taking some time off from work to focus on the kids, getting a 2-year plan during the transition enables your loved ones to be protected from financial burden should something happen to you.
Bestow 10 or 20 Year Term Life Insurance
Bestow’s longer-term plans are available in 10 or 20-term lengths with premium rates that can be locked in. You can customize your benefit based on how much premium you’d like to pay monthly. Maximum death benefit is $1 million. These longer-term policies provide a significant financial safety net for the following scenarios:
Income protection for your family
If you’re the breadwinner and want to help ensure your family will have the necessary funds to protect them against the lifestyle change in the event of an unexpected death, term life insurance can provide value-for-your money protection.
Financial shield against long-term debt impact
Life insurance is there to help prevent your beneficiaries from taking a huge financial hit when you pass away. And one potential burden that can severely affect them is any unpaid debt that you might have. That way, benefits from the policy can be used to clear off debt while still having some funds left to help them while transitioning to a new lifestyle.
Supplement for your long term financial goals
Having life insurance should be a part of your long term retirement goals for your loved ones, since it would help “protect” your other assets from being utilized prematurely in the event of untimely death.
Quick and affordable coverage
Traditional term life insurance can be a hassle depending on the company’s underwriting procedure. With Bestow, you can easily apply for a 10 or 20-year coverage without having to take a medical exam. Therefore it takes out much of the initial friction that applicants consider whenever they think about getting life insurance. With accelerated underwriting, they can skip all the hassles and get coverage quickly.
- Backed by A+ rated life insurance companies
- You can cancel anytime
- No medical exams required
- Non-commissioned customer support
- Advice from licensed insurance agents
- Secure application and data encryption
How Much Do People Pay For Bestow Life Insurance?
Bestow’s website features a handy life insurance quote calculator that you can use to estimate the premiums you’ll pay based on the coverage amount you want.
To give you an idea, here are the sample rates for a healthy 34-year old male from California of average weight and height (rates calculated as of 8/23/19):
And here are the corresponding rates based on a healthy 30-year old female of average weight and height living in California.
How to Sign Up for Bestow Life Insurance
One of Bestow’s best features is its full-online application process. All it takes to get covered is a couple of minutes answering their online questionnaire. Then, once done, approval will be provided in mere minutes. Here are the steps for signing up for a life insurance policy offered by Bestow.
- Enter your gender, birth date, height, weight, and state of residence. Fill-in the required info to get an estimate of how much you’ll need to pay based on the amount of the policy.
- Once done, click the “Start Application” button.
- On the next page, you’ll be asked to complete the required information. This includes your full legal name, email address (you’ll also be asked to provide your desired password), date of birth, full address, weight, and height.
- Then, once everything is complete, hit submit. Your details will be assessed for approval. It should only take a couple of minutes to get the confirmation.
Bestow Life Insurance Pros & Cons
- Fast online application. To sign up for a term life policy offered by Bestow, all you need to do is visit their website and complete the online application. You can get an approval within 10 minutes.
- Bestow offers some of the most competitive premium prices for their term coverage. You can choose a death benefit amount based on how much you’d like to pay monthly.
- Medical exam is never required. You won’t be asked to send a blood or urine sample or go through extensive medical tests. All the information needed for your underwriting will be taken from your answers in the online application.
- Above average coverage amounts. In other words, up to $1 million in coverage for a no-exam term insurance policy is better than what some other insurers can offer.
- The flexible 2-year term coverage is perfect for short-term protection that some specific situations may call for.
- Guaranteed 30-day money back. If you realize Bestow’s policy is not for you, you can cancel it within the first 30 days. Whatever you paid will be refunded.
- Zero annual and cancellation charges.
- Excellent financial ratings. Bestow has partnered with two highly-rated companies, North American Company for Life and Health Insurance and Munich RE (reinsurer). They both have A+ ratings from A.M. Best.
- Absence of optional coverage or riders. As of the moment, Bestow doesn’t offer any option to customize your policy.
- Qualifying age is somewhat limited. Bestow currently only offers their 2 and 10 year policies to individuals between 21 and 54.5 of age, while their 20-year plan is only available for people aged 21 to 45. It means their policies are set to expire at age 65.
- Lacks a longer 30-year term option. With such competitive prices, it would have been great if they offered a longer term policy.
Bestow Life Insurance: Is it For You?
Before Insuretech companies came into the scene, getting life insurance typically required that you fill out an application form online, take a medical exam, get your blood drawn and give a urine sample. Without Bestow, a time frame to complete everything, including the wait time to get your application reviewed (underwriting) and approved, could take up to 30-90 days.
This initial friction is a huge reason why most people put off signing up for life insurance. In the US, a big portion of uninsured Americans admit they would like to have life insurance coverage but it’s too much of a hassle and eats up too much of their time.
Companies like Bestow aim to completely bypass the inconveniences brought about by traditional underwriting in conventional life insurance. Therefore, getting both short and long term life insurance coverage has never really been this easy.
The Bottom Line
It literally takes just a few clicks (or swipes) and a quick online application process to get covered. No need to worry about scheduling time-consuming medical exams or going through multiple back and forths with insurance agents.
However, one thing we do wish is the availability of a 30-year term as that would make it an even sweeter deal, so hopefully, they offer this option in the future. Therefore in conclusion, Bestow’s short (2-year) and long (10/20 year) term life insurance policies are worth checking out because of its great value and quick and painless application process.
Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I like these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Disclosure: Neither Bestow nor North American Company for Life and Health Insurance were involved in the preparation of the information in this article. The opinions and ideas expressed in the article are those of the author(s) and are not promoted or endorsed by Bestow or North American. You should always seek professional advice before making a financial decision. NextGen Life Insurance will not be compensated for life insurance purchases but may receive affiliate fees.