MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET) is collaborating with Empathy to offer the bereavement care technology company’s platform to the insurance giant’s employees and beneficiaries.
Bereavement care tech startup Empathy launched in 2021 with an app designed to help reduce the burden on grieving families and provide additional layers of emotional support.
The Empathy app is designed to help families navigate the logistical aspects of bereavement, including documentation, funeral or memorial arrangements, validating a will and other essentials. These tasks often require hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars, for which many families are unprepared.
“Employees whose employers equip them with comprehensive support during difficult times are more likely to maintain their focus and productivity at work, creating a more engaged workforce which ultimately translates to better business outcomes,” Empathy Co-Founder and CEO Ron Gura told Hospice News in an email. “Life insurance carriers that invest in bereavement support for beneficiaries also benefit from increased engagement with the people they serve.”
Empathy in April 2021 secured $13 million in seed money, with the venture capital firms General Catalyst and Aleph as the lead investors. Empathy went on to raise an additional $30 million in subsequent funding rounds.
The company’s clients and partners include a number of hospice providers, including Compassus, one of the 10 largest hospice providers in the United States, as well as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO).
Through the MetLife collaboration, millions of beneficiaries will have the ability to access the Empathy app, according to a press release from the insurance company.
The first MetLife client to offer the platform was AT&T (NYSE: T), as an employee benefit.
“When a loved one passes away, it can feel all-consuming,” said Stacey Marx, senior vice president, Global Benefits at AT&T, in a statement. “Grief coupled with complicated logistics can be overwhelming and takes a major toll on our employees’ wellbeing.”
The burden on grieving families is often severe. They can spend as many as 500 hours over as many as 13 months completing administrative tasks related to their loved one’s death, according to the Cost of Dying Report, pubished by Empathy. The average cost to the bereaved exceeds $12,000.
“Bereavement is more common in the workplace than might be assumed: at any given time, 20% of the workforce has recently experienced loss,” Gura said, citing the Cost of Dying Report. “Bereavement has a significant impact on employees’ sense of wellbeing in the workplace, as well as their ability to focus on their jobs, with 76% of employees who have recently experienced bereavement reporting a decline in productivity.”
Reporter Holly Vossel contributed to this report.