‘There’s a big gap between what we call ‘healthspan’ and ‘lifespan,’” says Roee Nahir, co-founder and CEO of AssuredAllies, the Tel Aviv- and Boston-based start-up that works with long-term care industry leaders and long-term care insurance companies to better support successful aging.
“People live longer, but they live with the same chronic conditions and with a longer period of disability. Our mission is to help people maximize their aging potential to successfully age as best they can.”
Five years ago, Nahir, and Afik Gal, a physician, joined forces to create a company that would develop technology to help people make the most of their later years. Though the company utilizes the latest data science and medical technology, they decided to give their company a decidedly low-tech name – AssuredAllies.
“It was clear to us from the start that the company’s name needed to be close to its meaning in a way that appeals to an older population. So, we wanted to use plain English words that people know and associate positively,” explains Gal, co-founder and president.
Gal and Nahir wanted part of the company name to include a term related to the word “insurance,” since they were planning to work in the insurance space, so they chose the similar-sounding word “assurance.” They also wanted to convey the idea that they would be helping older adults in their journey, so they added the word “allies,” and AssuredAllies was born.
Though Gal and Nahir are in their early forties, they have acted as caregivers for their parents and grandparents, and wanted to use their respective medical and technological abilities to use data to help people cope with the complexities of aging.
“If you could predict an individual’s aging trajectory – the risk factors and problems that older people may encounter in the future; and help them prevent some of them or better cope with others, then you could actually help them maximize their aging potential. The idea is to leverage technology and data to build that aging trajectory and to use the data to predict the best interventions or services from which the individual can benefit, and enable these services.”
Gal, who was born and raised in Israel and today lives in the United States, has spent most of his career in the healthcare technology start-up field, and acknowledges that the healthcare system has disappointed the older segment of the population.
The company’s use of analytics helps older adults age independently and for longer in their own homes'
“As a physician, I saw the system sometimes ignoring aging adults altogether and sometimes providing them with solutions that could work for a younger population, and no one was really trying to fill that gap,” he says.
Nahir, after successfully exiting his previous company, was looking to create something that would positively impact people’s lives. He credits his IDF service for instilling a positive, can-do mentality and notes that being an outsider in the medical industry helped in providing a different point of view.
The number of people aged 65 and up in the United States, says Gal, is expected to reach 65 million by 2030.
“We decided to see if we could build a financially sustainable model to get to that population,” he explains. “To do that, we realized we must both help the aging population and save money for a financial entity that would be willing to pay us to do what we do. This should work like investing in aging adults, and we need that investment to work, and reduce the costs that somebody will incur. That entity will reap the benefits and will pay us to help those aging adults.”
This is the basic “return on investment” principle that drives businesses worldwide.
The first product that AssuredAllies launched was the Age Assured program. This free program is offered through long-term care insurance companies and is designed for people who want help to continue living independently as they age. The program has succeeded in reducing claim incidence by as much as 13% with its personalized and predictive wellness interventions. Age Assured helps older people age in place with greater freedom and enables insurance companies to reduce claims.
The second product, Never Stop, is a refresh on the concept of retirement products such as annuities, life insurance and long-term care insurance. AssuredAllies has combined such an insurance product with a program that helps customers identify their location on their aging trajectory and enables them to maintain and improve their physical and mental well-being, which reduces future risk of disability and claims. Participating in the wellness program improves the customers’ quality of life and provides them with financial incentives such as increased insurance coverage.
The program is based on the latest science of aging delivered by a Wellness Ally, a trained health coach, available by phone, video call, email or chat, who helps customers stay on track to meet their health goals. Gal explains that while calculating what needs to be done to maintain physical health is very scientific and exact, the type of program depends on the individual.
“It’s a very personal problem and can mean different things for different individuals,” he says. “Some are running a marathon at age 60 or 70, but others can barely walk into their garden, due to their physical limitations.”
AssuredAllies is headquartered in Tel Aviv and Boston, and Gal and Nahir say that while the company has a diverse workforce with different cultures and backgrounds, the team succeeds because of its dedication to the products it produces. “We have a very unique culture and people who care about what we do and are very dedicated to the company. This makes it a little bit easier for people to work together and bridge those gaps because they know their peers care about the same thing.”
Gideon Argov, managing partner at New Era Capital Partners, who has invested in the company, explains that the fact that AssuredAllies sits at the nexus of three different sectors of the economy is unusual.
“The first,” he says, “is medical services that are the tip of the spear regarding what gets provided to the aging population. The second is insurtech, in that the company is interfacing with very large insurance companies. The third sector is advanced analytics.”
Gal concurs and says, “Analytics is really the crux of what we do. It is the glue that brings it all together.” The company’s use of analytics helps older adults age independently and for longer in their own homes. It also assists insurance companies in reducing future claim payouts by delivering and financing intervention programs that are proven to reduce and delay the need for long-term care services.
For example, the company’s Age Assured product helps insurers that already have aging adults in existing policies to help them manage that risk and to help those aging to live longer, better lives. The analytics better identifies who needs help, who will need help, and the type of assistance they will need.
Nahir explains that the predictive type of analytics that AssuredAllies has created in the medical and insurance fields has not been attempted by any other company until now. “What we are doing is pretty novel, and there is a lot that we need to invent. It sounds exciting, and it is a lot of fun, but it is very, very complicated.”
How do the company’s heads define success? Nahir says, “Success is helping as many aging adults age as successfully as possible. The more people that benefit from our services and age better by staying longer in their homes, and finding happiness as they age, is our metric of success.”
This article was written in cooperation with AssuredAllies.
No Limits: A New Era of start-ups
Afik Gal and Roee Nahir, co-founders of Assured Allies, were featured on the second episode of the No Limits podcast, launched by New Era Capital Partners and The Jerusalem Post. The six-part podcast series features in-depth interviews with CEOs of Israeli start-ups who share the experiences and challenges of developing successful companies in today’s fast-paced and demanding business environment. – A.R.