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Bestow Finalizes Acquisition of Centurion Life Insurance

The Dallas firm now has the autonomy to design and launch a suite of innovative financial protection products on its platform.
Jonathan Abelmann and Melbourne O’Banion

Dallas-based digital life insurance provider Bestow has finalized the acquisition of Centurion Life Insurance, completing the acquisition process that began in December 2020.

The deal is centered around Centurion’s licenses in 47 states, plus the District of Columbia. With the acquisition, Bestow will now design and offer its own line of products accessible to millions of underserved families.

“We’ve already developed the leading digital life insurance platform capable of embedding life insurance within any ecosystem,” CEO and Co-founder Melbourne O’Banion told D CEO. “A natural next step is to become the first challenger carrier, so we have the independence and autonomy to continue driving innovation on behalf of our customers.”

Typically, it takes three to four years for a life insurance company to become a national carrier due to the state by state time-in-market requirements. The route of acquisition significantly cut that process time for Bestow to stake its national claim.

Built from scratch in 2016, doubling as a software company, Bestow provides customers with a touchless life insurance purchasing process that takes less than five minutes, skipping the phone screenings, doctor visits, or blood tests.

“We built our platform to power the best possible life insurance products — whether they are issued by Bestow Life or a trusted carrier partner,” Jonathan Abelmann, president and co-founder, said. “By offering a more robust product suite on our platform, we can provide partners with personalized life insurance experiences that meet the unique needs of their customers.”

Bestow experienced a record 2020, upping policy sales over 450 percent year over year. And 2021 has been no different. “We have already doubled our year-to-date revenue from last year,” O’Banion said.

Bestow has raised more than $150 million in total funding, most recently with a $70 million Series C round in December 2020, the same time the Centurion acquisition process began. Investors include Breyer Capital, Valar Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Ventures, Morpheus Ventures, and Sammons Financial.

Employee growth is also on the rise for Bestow. “We’ve more than doubled our team in the last year and have recently signed leases for new, larger office spaces in Austin and Dallas to support our team’s growth,” O’Banion said.

Bestow will reach 200 employees by the end of September capping off a hiring spree of 80 new staff members over the last 90 days. By year end, Bestow expects to be approaching 300.

Bestow denied to disclose the purchase price.

“There are numerous opportunities ahead for Bestow across our diverse business lines, from embedding life insurance within leading insurtech companies like Lemonade to working with legacy carriers to license our software,” O’Banion told D CEO. “The growth enables us to scale and capitalize on all these opportunities more rapidly.”

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