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Digital Innovation & big data – Community insurance for fertility treatment

On 8th  August 2013 The Glow app was launched with personal backing from Max Lechvin a founder of PayPal.

The Glow app is an ambitious attempt to improve the world’s knowledge about fertility – in short to help couples have more babies.

From an insurance perspective the really interesting thing is the goal of the app which is stated on the website:

“We founded Glow because we strongly feel that no couple should be denied the joy of parenthood simply because they cannot afford medical help.  The current insurance coverage for infertility in this country remains woefully inadequate.  However, by gaining a deep understanding of immense quantities of personal data submitted by our users, like you, we hope to chance all that. Eventually our ability to precisely price infertility risk will allow us to offer you financial support just when you need it most.”

They are starting this journey with a simple program :

– couples pay US$50  month for 10 months

– If they conceive they stop paying – but their contributions remain in the community (non profit) fund and are used to finance fertility treatment for those couples who did not conceive

The founder has put an initial donation of U$1 million and they estimate that in about 18 months they will have a much better understanding on how to price fertility risk. At some point they intend to offer insurance on fertility and the CEO Mike Huang is quotes as saying ” we want to be the first insurance company that everybody loves”.

I will leave it to the actuarial readers of The Digital Insurer to comment on some of the risks this community funding approach is running and it would be interesting to get comments from any health insurance actuaries who have taken a look at the issues around covering fertility insurance.

This app is a great example of innovation in digital insurance – and note how the experiment is being carried outside of the mainstream. It will be interesting to see how the project works out over the next 2 years


Useful links

download the app from the website

Financial Times




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