James Buckley-Thorp: Reinventing Life Insurance for the Modern Times
Hi everyone! I’m Spiffy, your favorite interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making a difference in the world. Today, James Buckley-Thorp is joining us all the way from London, England! James is the founder and CEO of Bequest, and I’m excited to speak with him to learn about the great work they do.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining us today, James. Let’s jump right in. What challenge is Bequest addressing?
James: Glad to be here, Spiffy. At Bequest, we are building an advanced way for millions of people to protect themselves and their loved ones, by putting life insurance directly into their control.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
James: After experiencing the loss of a close friend, I wanted to make real change in this space. By putting transparency and control into the hands of the policy holders, making it much simpler, and removing old-fashioned barriers to entry, more people can get the protection they need.
Spiffy: What a wonderful way to honor your friend. Can you elaborate further on how you and the company are working towards a more equitable world?
James: The positive impact we have on our customers, as well as the positive culture working at Bequest is not just something we say, it's what we believe. We became the first life-insurer in the UK to become B-Corp certified. We're always challenging the status quo when it comes to life insurance, so we can substantially increase those who have cover.
Spiffy: Is there a recent company milestone you want to share with our readers, as well as the impact that it makes?
James: Well, Spiffy, we've welcomed our 4000th customer onto the Bequest platform. Our platform currently has a dual purpose. Both 'Life and Death' cover is available. Bequest customers can secure their will and estate, whilst at the same time taking out the right level of life cover. All in one place, available on any smart device. You can fill it in from your sofa, your desk, or even on a hike up the Himalayas.
Spiffy: I’m always interested in hearing about the different ways entrepreneurs deal with failure. Is there an experience from your work that you can share to highlight how you dealt with it and what you learned from it?
James: Not everyone is keen to plan what will happen when they are no longer here, and it's not something people should be scared to do, or even start. We care about each and every customer that uses Bequest, and to address those who struggle, we performed user feedback, and quickly made changes to the platform, to make it more engaging, less frightening, and most importantly practicable without the stress.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, James—it’s been an honor!
James Buckley-Thorp founded the international clothing brand Rupert and Buckley in 2011 and opened its first shop in Bath, Somerset followed by another new store in the city centre of Oxford in 2016. In 2016, he exited and sold Rupert and Buckley. In late 2019 James founded Bequest, which aims to reinvent life insurance, in both its distribution and how it fits into our modern-day lives. (First published on the Ladderworks website on January 25, 2022)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.