Fulfilling the true promise of life insurance

Published on Mar 30, 2023

Insurance was always supposed to be about more than just sending people money. By partnering with Empathy, Guardian takes it back to its original mission.

Around the world, millions of people depend on life insurance to help them weather the challenges of loss, using their payouts to soften the financial blow that it can often bring. But there are so many other issues families face in the wake of a death: logistical difficulties, bureaucratic nightmares, emotional rollercoasters, and troubled interpersonal dynamics. We built Empathy to support families through all of these challenges and more – and by partnering with life insurance companies, we therefore not only fill that gap, we bring insurance back to its fundamental purpose. After all, the true commitment of insurance, the reason it was invented in the first place, is to make sure people are protected against the possibility of hard times. Our new partnership with Guardian allows us both to make good on that promise, ensuring that the many, many families they serve never have to face the challenges of loss alone.

When we think of life insurance, we often think of a payout, plain and simple. You spend a certain amount, month by month, to ensure that your loved ones get a big check after you pass away, some extra financial security to help them through any uncertainty that may lie ahead.

When insurance companies first started, however, they were about so much more than just premiums and payouts. Originally, they were about communities coming together to support each other. When each family stands alone, each is at the mercy of chance—a freak accident could ruin them for life, or even for generations. Joining together, on the other hand, allows them to spread out that risk across the community; everyone pays a small amount into a common fund, in exchange for a promise that they will be lifted up should they be the one to encounter hardship.

It’s a simple idea, but a powerful one: We can’t predict what the future will bring, but we can mitigate its effects together, joining as a community to shoulder the burdens any of us one day might face. From this concept, all modern insurance springs; as it has evolved into a series of businesses and financial services, the central concept remains the same. People can best weather the difficulties life throws at them when they create interconnected networks of support.

However, while large businesses are amazingly suited to absorbing financial risks (and making detailed actuary calculations to properly balance those risks), they are less naturally adept at taking on the community role that insurance once represented. It is thus no trivial thing for a corporation to bear that collective responsibility and maintain the human relationship of communities coming together to support one another through a crisis.

As one of the largest mutual insurance companies, Guardian stands out as a shining example of a company that strives to do just that, to stick to the heart of what insurance is all about with a promise to put the needs of its customers first. Started in 1860 by a community of immigrants who joined together to protect their families and their businesses, it has never strayed from its commitment to be more than just a financial concern, doing right by families over generations with a legacy of service and support.

Now, by partnering with Empathy, Guardian is doubling down on that promise, bringing it fully into the 21st century. Adding Empathy to the services they provide is a way to honor its commitment to the next generation, the beneficiaries of a policy purchased decades ago. That relationship doesn’t end with a check, but continues on as long as the family needs it. Empathy represents that continuity, providing full-circle support for all the challenges that bereaved families face.

These services—concierge support for things like bureaucracy, paperwork, decisions big and small, difficult emotions, grief, new family dynamics, and so on—well, they’re not exactly what a financial services company seems built to provide. But then, life insurance was always more than just a financial arrangement. With Empathy, Guardian and other progressive insurance companies like it bring the story full circle, giving new life to the idea of mutual support that all insurance was built on.

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