Life Insurance
New York City
26 million
Life Insurance in force
$776 billion

How Guardian revamped its beneficiary experience with Empathy

Why Guardian sought innovative ways to support beneficiaries

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, one of the largest mutual life insurers in the country, has been providing financial peace of mind for American families for over 160 years. True to its name, Guardian was looking for ways to support and care for its beneficiaries when it matters most, beyond the financial protection it provides.

Life insurance is a unique kind of insurance, as policyholders are not the beneficiaries of the policy. In most cases, therefore, the insurance carrier does not have a meaningful relationship with beneficiaries beyond their claim—which is basically a simple transaction. As a top-tier life insurance company and a forward-thinking organization, Guardian recognized that this transaction could instead be an opportunity to connect, to build lasting relationships that span generations.

Key challenges

  • Show long-term value to convert a one-time transaction with beneficiaries into a new business opportunity 

  • Claims representatives’ interactions with beneficiaries are limited and distant, as they have little to offer beyond the claim

  • Life insurance beneficiaries' needs and preferences are typically different from policyholders’ given the demographic differences

Choosing Empathy to provide comprehensive bereavement support

Loss can be a significant burden: Bereaved families are faced with an average of 420 hours of work to handle their loved one’s affairs, spanning 13 months (or 20 months when a full probate process is required). These responsibilities hit at an already difficult time, when things are made harder by the emotional challenges of grief. This takes a high toll on bereaved individuals—93% suffer from at least one negative physical or mental health symptom. 

By partnering with Empathy, Guardian supports its beneficiaries through every aspect of these difficult weeks and months. Empathy’s award-winning product, which combines time-saving tools and useful resources with real-time guidance from a professional care team, helps beneficiaries get through all the emotional and practical challenges. Establishing seamless support from the moment of the claim onward, Guardian provides a superior experience for beneficiaries, ensuring that Guardian will be top of mind when they are looking to buy insurance for themselves.

With Empathy, we’re not just offering beneficiaries a check, we’re offering them resources in a time in their life when they’re confused, they don’t know what to do.

— Tommy Smoot, Vice President, Guardian

Empathy’s launch plan ensures synchronization with carrier’s claim process

Empathy worked with Guardian to embed its offering throughout Guardian’s claims process, providing customized resources to match different touch points and personas. Thanks to its partnerships, Empathy was also able to embed its offering into Guardian’s claim management software so claims representatives can easily present the offer to claimants during notice of loss calls. Empathy’s turnkey solution guaranteed a quick implementation with minimal requirements from the carrier side, while its SOC 2 Type ll compliance ensured adherence to the highest privacy and security standards.

Empowering Guardian's claims team to provide better support to claimants

Claims representatives face the challenge of supporting beneficiaries dealing with loss, especially considering the large volume of claims they deal with every day. It’s very difficult to be empathetic and provide stellar customer service while maintaining efficiency. Empathy’s collaboration with Guardian helps empower the claims team, providing them with the tools and resources they need to show up for beneficiaries in need—including a session with renowned grief expert David Kessler, training sessions with Empathy personnel that aligns with Guardian’s onboarding, introduction to Empathy’s platform, and more. Empathy and Guardian also established a channel to identify distressed beneficiaries and provide expedited support from Empathy’s Care Team.

These efforts were doubly important—first, they prompted the claim representatives to present Empathy to claimants, turning more beneficiaries into users, and second, they helped the representatives feel that their role was more meaningful and productive, making them less likely to turnover.

Realized business results driven by beneficiary support

Introducing Empathy’s beneficiary support has allowed Guardian to supplement beneficiaries’ financial security with practical and emotional peace of mind, but it has also helped produce important business results for the company. Empathy’s services have propelled positive outcomes across the board, both from a business and a customer perspective—as early signals suggest that satisfied beneficiaries are showing increased intent to purchase a life Insurance policy from Guardian.

The businesses have collaborated to improve key performance indicators—attaining generational loyalty from beneficiaries, driving cost efficiencies, improving customer satisfaction, and more.

All of a sudden, the things that we've always done, paying claims, paying dividends, now are coming to life in brand new ways that I think, well, I know because our beneficiaries have told us they never really expected.

- Tommy Smoot Vice President, Guardian

Give beneficiaries the care they deserve

Join us in bringing Empathy to every family experiencing the challenges of loss.