By its nature, gig work isn’t full time. That makes getting insurance more difficult, and certainly more expensive.
According to Statista, just 4% of millennial gig workers had access to employer-based short-term or long-term disability plans. The numbers for boomer gig workers weren’t much better, coming in at 3% for short-term disability and 5% for long-term disability. Generation X gig workers fared a bit better, but not by much, with 8% having access to short-term and 9% having access to long-term disability plans.
The reality is that many of these workers, regardless of their generation, may not have full-time jobs in the traditional sense and are choosing to work for gig companies — in many cases, multiple gig companies, as surveys have found that more than 70% of gig workers work for more than one company.
Insurance startup Asteya has launched with a $10 million round of funding to help offer gig workers an insurance option. The round for the Miami-based company included I2BF Ventures, Capital Factory, Cap Meridian Ventures, Northstar Ventures and Atrum, as well as angel investors Whitney Wolfe Herd and Geeta Sankappanavar.
The company was founded by CEO Alex Williamson, the former chief brand officer at Bumble, and Hadi Radwan, chief product officer. The company is working with A-rated carriers including Munich Re and certain underwriters at Lloyd’s to offer disability insurance options for gig workers.
“We’re thrilled to announce our public launch to begin to help make income protection accessible for all,” Williamson said. “For so many of us, our income and wellness are intertwined — and yet there are not enough solutions for when the unexpected happens. Asteya is designed to empower people for the way we work and live today.”
Disability insurance typically helps protect workers who have gaps in income due to health problems or injuries. Such programs are often supplied by employers, but coverage can be uneven, the company said. With an increasing number of Americans self-employed or classified as 1099 workers, the disability insurance market has not evolved with them, Asteya added, pointing out that one out of three people will be unable to work due to wellness complications at some point before retiring, yet 50 million working adults do not have income protection.
Asteya offers an online application process and can often approve users for coverage within minutes. For gig workers, its first offering will feature monthly payment plans similar to life insurance.
“Asteya’s approach delivers flexibility in protecting income, which for us likewise means creating a seamless user experience, improving speed to decision, and emphasizing affordability as our top priorities,” Radwan said. “Our goal is to make Asteya plans accessible to as many people who need them as possible.”