"LIFT OFF,” Your Weekly Digest Of Employee Benefits INVESTMENT & INNOVATION News
10/21/19 - Subscribe

Welcome to the premier issue of "LIFT OFF,” and thanks for being a “CHARTER SUBSCRIBER.”

My business partner, Jim Ouimet, and I believe there is a growing opportunity in the employee benefits market. It isn't selling and servicing employee benefits, although that has been, and remains, a great opportunity.

The growing opportunity we refer to is in the "PROCESSES" of selling and servicing employee benefits.

Employers and employees are engaging with many of the same products and services they have been for decades.

How they are engaging, however, has been changing rapidly, and will continue to change; we think at an accelerating pace.

What's of interest about this to many people is the flow of investment dollars into organizations that are innovating products, platforms, and services that match the changes taking place. Here are just two examples:

  1. Prudential Financial to acquire Assurance IQ, Inc., a leading consumer solutions platform for health and financial wellness needs, for $2.35 billion. * Business Wire

  2. MetLife's fifth annual “Ignition summit, an annual one-day experience to identify emerging digital capabilities that will drive transformation in the insurance industry." "By bringing 16 startup companies to MetLife’s New York City headquarters with more than 200 of its own business, operations and tech leaders, Ignition serves as a catalyst to spark creativity across the enterprise globally." ** Yahoo Finance

There are many more transactions we will be reviewing in more detail as we go forward.

But let's look backward for a moment in just one niche, because I think it helps position where we are today.

Supplemental life and health insurance was pioneered by a handful of companies in the mid-to-late 1950's. The emphasis for these organizations was on "PRODUCT."

In the early nineties, there was a wave of disruption in the market in the form of Section 125 Cafeteria Plans. Section 125 plans impacted the existing distribution system by pre-taxing the employee's premiums, resulting in a savings to the employee and the employer.

I don't have any hard data on this, but I have always felt that was really the turning point of getting the attention of employee benefit brokers and helping voluntary benefits become mainstream along with health, life, dental, etc.

Today the existing distribution system is being impacted by "PROCESS."

Accounts are being won by using technology to create better processes and improve the customer experience for the employer and employees.


We are committed to making this a valuable resource to assist with your future career and business development. We hope you find it of value.

NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum

On January 16th, 2020 we are going to host our first event in Palo Alto, CA (
NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum).

15 companies will be presenting for 12 minutes each to:

Venture capitalists, private equity firms, and angel investors active in the life, health, and the employee benefits niche, as well as insurance companies and banks with internal venture funds, Insurance organizations of all types that are seeking acquisitions, strategic distribution relationships, and product development innovation.

"Presenter Profile"
Each week we will include a "Presenter Profile" of one of the unique and ready to "Lift Off" companies that will be presenting at the NXT Employee Benefits Investor Forum in Palo Alto, January 16th, 2020.

Here is the first 'PRESENTER PROFILE" with an innovative solution in the "Maternal Care" space.
The data on American mothers dying from pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated causes are at once shameful and heartbreaking.

Across the board, no developed nation has the rate of maternal deaths that we in the United States suffer. American women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy, delivery, or within one year of giving birth than women in Canada. The maternal mortality rate has been increasing steadily — it increased nearly 27 percent from 2000 to 2014.

A solution that addresses these critical challenges to maternal and infant health is the focus of this SAAS business that maintains continuous contact with mothers and their babies during all stages of pre-natal and post-natal care. The Company offers the type of personalized guidance and advice, via a telehealth platform, that avoid costly health crises often caused by a lack of proactive communications by providers and hospitals. The need for this kind of service is urgent:

A report from the Commonwealth Fund released in December found American women have the greatest risk of dying from pregnancy complications among 11 high-income countries. What’s worse, there are massive disparities. Black women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women — regardless of education, income, or any other socio-economic factors.

Every year in the U.S., nearly 4 million women give birth, the vast majority without anything going amiss for themselves or their babies. But more than 135 expectant and new mothers a day — or roughly 50,000 a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — endure dangerous and even life-threatening complications that often leave them wounded, traumatized, financially devastated, unable to bear more children.

The annual cost of these near deaths to women, their families, taxpayers and the health care system runs into billions of dollars. Lawsuit settlements related to maternal child health complications topped $3 trillion since 2015. There are many settlements with undisclosed amounts.

Extensive research into the area of parent/infant education shows that pregnant women and new parents are under informed or misinformed regarding their pregnancy, childbirth options, breast feeding and infant care. Education, monitoring of chronic condition, timely prenatal care, mental health support, substance abuse and smoking session education and other important prenatal and postnatal interventions found to be especially helpful in prevention of these outcomes. Physicians and pediatricians are unable (due to time constraints and full schedules) to spend time advising, educating or providing answers to the many questions that parents have regarding childbirth, and infant to toddler care. Early discharge from hospitals reduces the time allowed to monitor and educate mom/parent widens the knowledge gap and place mom and baby at risk.

The goal, on the most fundamental level, is to save the lives of mothers and their babies. Broadly, we should at least be capable of closing the gap by using technology and care collaboration at its highest level to provide the right care, at the right time, to every mom and child regardless of location, race, economic status and access to care providers.

Our presenter, a licensed Nurse Practitioner with deep experience in Maternal Health has developed a robust interactive SAAS telehealth platform that connects expecting mothers and parents to a range of providers such as psychologists, nutritionists, pediatricians, social workers, breast feeding/lactation specialists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, midwifes and others.

The services design supported ongoing, trusted relationships with between its users and network of providers that is crucial to its adoption, and a key differentiator when compared to the prevailing “information” sites that lack such interaction.

The platform design supports ongoing, trusted relationships between its users and network of providers that is crucial to its adoption, and a key differentiator when compared to the prevailing “information” sites that lack such interaction.

There are a variety of channels this service uses to reach its end-users. They include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Health care providers. 
2. Hospital Systems.  
3. Public Health Departments. 
4. Insurance carriers.
5. Direct to consumer via web search/ Social media. There are more than 4 million mommy bloggers in North America alone.  
6. Academia. (Extend education to adults with live advice and support through the hard transition of pregnancy-labor-infant-toddler care)
8. Employers. The employer market is a rich pipeline to our end customer. Large employers often seek to supplement their health offerings with high value

News, Observations, Updates, Opinions,
Comments,  Developments, & More...

Under 30 Summit Speaker Spotlight: Serena Williams

Kurt Badenhausen / Forbes

Serena is the first athlete ever to hit Forbes’ annual list of the World’s Richest Self-Made Women, with an estimated fortune of $225 million. the vast majority of it having come via her brain and brand rather than her backhand. And over the past five years, she’s been quietly dropping money into 34 startups. In April, Williams formally announced that Serena Ventures is open for business, to fund others and launch companies herself.
Here's how she did it →


AWS - Have you seen the AWS ads on TV?

Build on with AWS

Amazon just introduced their 7th AI service.

Amazon Textract is now HIPAA eligible
by Kriti Bharti / Amazon

Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that Amazon Textract, a machine learning service that quickly and easily extracts text and data from forms and tables in scanned documents, is now eligible for healthcare and life science workloads that require HIPAA compliance.

This launch builds upon the existing portfolio of AWS artificial intelligence services that are HIPAA-eligible, including
Amazon Translate,
Amazon Comprehend,
Amazon Transcribe,
Amazon Polly,
Amazon SageMaker and
Amazon Rekognition – that help customers retrieve data from documents more accurately to reach better healthcare decisions, operate more efficiently, and help identify medical and scientific trends.


TitletownTech, Packers announce details on $25M VC fund, including Baird involvement

The Green Bay Packers and Microsoft Corp. held the official grand opening Friday of TitletownTech, a new initiative to spur startup growth and innovation in Green Bay. And the group announced several new details about its $25 million venture fund designed to back Wisconsin startups.

The venture fund, dubbed the TitletownTech Venture Fund, was officially announced in 2017 as part of a three-part plan by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and the Packers that includes an innovation lab, venture studio and $25 million VC fund. On Friday, TitletownTech named a dozen new limited partners in its fund, all of which are based in Wisconsin.


Baltimore to buy $20M in cyber insurance months after attack
by AP

The city of Baltimore is set to purchase $20 million in cyber insurance coverage, five months after an attack hobbled its computer network.

The city's Board of Estimates on Wednesday approved the purchase of two $10 million policies. The premiums will total $835,000.

The move comes after hackers in May demanded about $76,000 in ransom after freezing key computer systems. Online payments, billing systems and email were down, and property transactions came to a stop, exasperating home sellers and real estate professionals.

The city refused to pay the ransom, but recovery has been estimated at about $18 million.

City officials said 17 insurers entered the bidding process. Chubb Insurance and AXA XL Insurance were selected.


Healthcare fintech company relocates to Reno; plans to fill 10-20 jobs

A Colorado-based healthcare fintech company recently relocated to Reno and plans to fill as many as 20 jobs by 2020.

Red Dot Management specializes in acquiring and resolving third party liability healthcare claims from motor vehicle accidents.

“Red Dot has developed the first platform for hospitals and medical providers to monetize this extremely long-term and complex claim process without exposing patients to collection activity,” according to a press release provided by KPS3, on behalf of DCG.


10 Key Issues For Fintech Startup Companies
Richard Harroch, Contributor / Forbes

Startup seeks to re-imagine benefits, benchmark supply chain
By Bruce Shutan / Employee Benefit Adviser

Use of AI in Healthcare Picking Up Momentum, Report Shows
Ken Terry / Medscape

Insurance giant Humana invests $20M in healthcare tech company Accolade

ASYSTEM raises $4M for male wellness
ASYSTEM, a startup focused on the men's wellness space, just raised a $4 million seed round. The Los Angeles company offers a subscription-based daily vitamin supplement package and a skincare package.

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Walt Podgurski - - Co-Editor

Jim Ouimet - - Co-Editor

This message was sent by "Daily Insurance Report" on behalf of "NXT Services."