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COVID-19 is what we’re tracking now: Sproutt’s Assaf Henkin

Assaf Henkin is president and chief operating officer of Sproutt, a company that uses artificial intelligence to help wellness-conscious consumers find life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness insurance.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurtech startup connects consumers who are trying to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and maintain good emotional health with insurers who will offer them lower premiums for Their efforts.

Henkin holds a bachelor’s degree in computer systems from San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

He worked at technology companies such as iXL, eZula, Kontera and Amobee for 20 years before helping start Sproutt in 2018.

Over email, we asked Henkin a series of questions that touch on both his professional knowledge and what he does off the clock.

1. Which market indicator, industry statistic, regulatory change or advisor trend are you watching the most right now and why?

We track several indicators, but over the past few years, morbidity and severity of COVID-19 have been important indicators to track.

Insurance companies have adopted underwriting practices that place limits on infected and recovering patients, impacting life insurance sales – especially online, where such customers have to wait longer for fonts.

2. How has this changed recently and how do you think it will change now?

In 2021, we saw COVID-19 indicators stabilize to a point where insurers were “comfortable” with the policies in place; which allowed a period of relative stability.

The number of cases started to increase again with omicron, but because mortality was lower, with a very high infection rate, some questions and underwriting methodologies were not aligned with this new situation.

We anticipate the pursuit of new variants over the next few years, along with advances in vaccines and drugs, ultimately making COVID-19 no longer life-threatening.

3. What would you suggest advisors do now or consider doing in the future about this?

The pandemic has served as a catalyst for digital change. Processes that would have taken years happened overnight. To be successful, advisors must embrace digitalization and learn how to source, sell and serve clients using digital channels and tools. This is what customers expect and those expectations will only intensify.

4. Who or what source of critical information do you follow, or follow online, to follow this trend or others?

First and foremost, we use our own data, including data that comes directly from consumers and advisors. It allows us to detect buying trends, underwriting trends, health issues, financial situation, etc.