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A financial offer to die for

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I attended a meeting this week presenting a variety of startups and their ideas. All of them were great, but one stood out for me: Fairwill.

Obviously playing on the word farewell, Fairwill provides an exit policy for humans … as in death specialists. It sounds morbid but there’s only two certainties in life: death and taxes. As I listened to the founder pitching his business, it was impressive. The basic idea?

At Farewill, our mission is to change the way the world deals with death. We're working hard to help people through some of life's toughest times. A big part of that is helping people have often difficult conversations with their families about death.

In other words, it specialises in funerals and probate. Lovely.

As Dan spoke about the business, I was reminded of another firm that impressed me: Dead Happy. Their mission was to be the home of the death wish through life assurance to die for.

One thing I loved about Dead Happy is that, when you signed up for their life assurance – which was pay as you go, not an annuity product – you could choose a death wish. Mine was for my ashes to be shot into space and my partner wanted her ashes to be turned into a diamond ring. What’s yours?

Unfortunately, Dead Happy died too and recently went into administration*.

Nevertheless, as the connections ignited in my brain, I was thinking of cradle to grave – or womb to tomb as the Americans say it – financial services. It’s the whole life event management experience.

What would happen if a life assurer linked up with a will writing company or, take if further, an integration of companies and their financial facilities that could deal with birth, marriage, divorce, life, death and more. Oh no, I’m going off piste.

It has been a vision for a long time that someone could integrate and curate all the firms that deal with these sort of life events, and make them simple and easy. Someone who could find the best of the best that provide these sort of services. Someone who I could trust, that could understand all of my life events from first job to first redundancy.

Who could be that someone?

Oh! It could be a bank with a license to thrill.

Banks have often talked about life event management. If I ever hear no one wants a mortgage, they want a home again, I am going to throw up … except it is true. No one wakes up saying I need to pay for something. They wake up thinking I need this thing, and the payment is the by-product.

The outcome is that if we could curate and integrate all the things we need in life, and embed and make seamless servicing for the ways in which they have to be paid for, we would have a winning business. That’s what banking should look like. Supportive, not punitive.


* On reflection, it is very difficult to sell life assurance online as the industry is based upon a disturbance sell. No one buys life assurance. They are sold it. The sale? You will die one day … do you want your family to be homeless when that happens? Nine out of ten life policies are therefore sold through intermediaries who disturb the customer into that mindset. That’s very hard to create online without a direct knock on the door, which is why Dead Happy failed. Shame.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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