Redefining Compassion: An unforgettable year in bereavement care

Published on Jan 7, 2024

Now that we have embarked upon a new year, it’s time to take a moment and reflect on 2023—on the big shifts and movements that we saw in our culture, and how they aligned with and impacted our mission to bring supportive, holistic bereavement care to as many families as we can. 

At Empathy we are always looking for opportunities to alleviate the burden on families and make bereavement care as accessible and affordable as possible. This has led us to two areas where we can most effectively and directly offer this support: through life insurance carriers and via employers.

Life insurance gives us access to families at the moment that they need Empathy’s bereavement support the most. Carriers see the advantage of investing in families, aligning themselves with consumer trends toward ongoing relationships with trusted brands over individual transactions by bundling our services as an added benefit alongside their financial payouts. 

Employers are often the first to know about major changes in their employees’ lives, and indeed, today there is a greater focus than ever on how workplaces can and should deliver meaningful support that allows employees to bring their whole selves to work. By partnering with employers, Empathy delivers full-circle support that goes beyond bereavement leave, and in turn fosters a culture of care and a sense of company loyalty that is so valuable in today’s job market.

These efforts and insights paid off significantly in 2023 through important partnerships and industry recognition, and we have every faith that the trends will continue through 2024 and beyond. We are constantly learning and growing, looking back on the advancements and discoveries of the past year to find new opportunities to bring bereavement care to more and more families and change the way the world deals with loss.

The future of life insurance is beneficiary care

According to 2023’s edition of the World Life Insurance Report, we are about to experience history’s largest-ever transfer of generational wealth, with approximately $7.8 trillion set to be inherited by 2040. Many of the recipients of this wealth will be life insurance beneficiaries, representing an unprecedented opportunity for carriers. 

Insurers are on the lookout for ways to convince beneficiaries to become new policyholders, showing that they care about the families they serve beyond the claim itself and so cultivating long-term relationships and generational loyalty.

To do so will require change; many of the policies that will be paying out in the coming years were written decades ago, when the market and its expectations were very different. Today’s consumer is not simply looking for a commercial transaction, but for a good customer experience with a company they trust and feel supported and respected by. 

Empathy’s bereavement support gives carriers a means to offer beneficiaries just this, ongoing support that extends beyond the moment of their payout. We partner with life insurance companies to reimagine beneficiary care, providing holistic support that understands and anticipates the uniquely challenging circumstances that bereaved families face. We know, for example, that while insurance payouts provide important financial assistance in the wake of a loved one’s passing, there are other forms of support that are equally necessary. Our 2024 Cost of Dying report shows that 94.5% of bereaved people suffer from at least one physical or mental health symptom, with 45% of them saying these persisted more than a few months.

These insights and others helped us build key inroads into the insurance space in 2024, forming partnerships with Fortune 100 carriers and innovative insurtech companies—and we are very excited at the prospect of growing this market to reach more beneficiaries with the bereavement support they need in the coming years.

Fostering caring workplaces through bereavement support  

This was also a year with a broad focus on the workplace, with the labor movement and several high-profile strikes dominating news cycles. This is part of an ongoing trend of employees expecting more from their employers in the form of meaningful support that sees them as whole people with full lives outside of the workplace, rather than simply as cogs on a wheel.

As the wellbeing, happiness, and satisfaction of workers become more front and center, more and more companies have been revisiting their benefits offerings, shifting away from fun perks like retreats and pool tables and instead placing their emphasis on issues like wellness—an obvious win-win, as employees who are physically and emotionally healthy are more effective and productive members of any workforce.

Empathy believes strongly that bereavement care should be an integral part of every company’s benefits packages. Bereavement leave is a good start, but it only begins to address the true needs of employees after a loss. They are often under an immense amount of stress, with all of the responsibilities and expense of taking care of their loved one’s affairs compounding their grief. Our 2024 Cost of Dying report indicates, for example, that it takes an average of 15 months to complete all of the tasks related to a loved one’s passing, or 18 months if the employee is the executor of the estate. This will have demonstrable impacts on their ability to work effectively, and if not given adequate support, their bereavement can affect their teams and even a whole company. 

On the other hand, when an organization provides meaningful bereavement care that understands what bereaved employees are going through, they are relieved of much of their stress and able to bring their whole selves back to work. In turn, such policies foster a positive environment and a culture of care in the workplace, in which employees trust that their company has their back when things get tough.

In 2023, we partnered with employers large and small to offer Empathy’s bereavement care as part of their benefits packages, and are eager to expand this market in the coming year. 

Recognizing that bereavement support and support for caregivers are really two sides of the same coin, we have also forged several important partnerships with organizations in the caregiving industry, and are committed to continuing to build a bridge between these two complementary areas of service.

A look ahead to 2024

We’ve made great strides this past year—forming significant partnerships, gaining industry recognition for our work and our innovative services, and above all in making bereavement care more accessible to more and more families. 

As we look forward, however, there is so much more work to do. There are so many more processes to simplify, clarify and automate, so many specific cases to adapt to, so many grieving families to listen to, support, and learn from. We are humbled and motivated to be entering the new year with new partners and new tools that will help us on this mission. 

With our exceptional combination of forward-thinking technology and human-centered care, Empathy is uniquely equipped to take on the challenge of bringing bereavement support to every family that needs it. We’re so glad you’re following along on our journey as we change the way the world deals with loss.

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