NEW YORK & ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today marks the launch of Trupo, a new kind of company that aims to serve a growing but often-ignored segment of the American workforce: freelancers. 57 million people, or one-third of U.S. workers, freelance. Unlike people who fall under what’s considered traditional employment, these individuals do not receive benefits like paid time off or employer-provided health insurance. Without these benefits, many freelancers struggle to save appropriately in anticipation of a rainy day when sudden health or personal issues inevitably arise. Trupo is designed to solve this “saving-spending treadmill” that freelancers find themselves on.
“Until now, freelancers had nowhere to turn in those inevitable periods when something unexpected happened and they couldn’t work. The government has turned a blind eye to the risks freelancers face while the insurance industry has been unable to offer a solution,” said Sara Horowitz, Founder and CEO of Trupo. “Freelancers are bold and resourceful, and they are coming together to lead this new economy. That’s why we created Trupo, so you’ll be protected when you come down with an illness and can’t work. You will have a safety net you can count on that will allow you to continue to pursue your passions and independent way of life.”
Trupo, born out of the Freelancers Union, comes amidst a period of major change in the economy and shifting preferences on how Americans choose to work. By 2027, more than half the country’s workforce will be comprised of independent workers encompassing a diverse range of professions and trades, including domestic workers, graphic designers, writers, accountants, adjunct professors, day laborers and more.
"Unlike many traditional workers, if freelancers can’t work, they lose out on critical income,” said Caitlin Pearce, Executive Director of Freelancers Union. “We’re continuously striving to meet the needs of our members, and as an investor in Trupo, we’re helping shape a more positive future for freelancers. Trupo represents an important step forward in providing protections that will empower our members to continue to do the work they love.”
Most short-term disability insurance products currently available are often only accessible through group plans offered by employers. Some products may require applicants to have a W-2, making them inaccessible to freelancers.
“As the future of work continues to evolve, shifting the ground under millions of workers, a new set of institutions is necessary to meet the demands of today’s workforce,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “Until now most freelancers have not been eligible for unemployment insurance, but Trupo is bringing the next generation of benefits to this critical segment of the workforce and providing the income stability and peace of mind they deserve.”
Trupo is backed by Sequoia Capital, a leading venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. “In Trupo, we see a company with the complete vision and know-how to solve a real problem in our economy that’s only going to grow,” said Alfred Lin, Partner at Sequoia. “We’re excited to support Trupo and its vision for providing a critical insurance product to a completely untapped segment of the U.S. insurance market.”
Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated has contracted with Trupo to reinsure the new insurance product. RGAX, the transformation engine of RGA, is leading the partnership. “Even a temporary loss of income can have disastrous impacts on a freelancer’s ability to cover necessary expenses,” said Dennis Barnes, CEO of RGAX. “Together with Trupo, we can provide freelancers with an insurance product that is optimized for their needs and independent lifestyle. By leveraging Trupo’s expertise in this segment with RGAX’s resources and industry insights, we are confident that Trupo can fill a void in the current insurance market that will improve the lives of its customers.”
Trupo will be first available in Georgia, with additional markets to follow. Georgia freelancers can request an invitation at www.trupo.com and will be notified when the plan launches later this summer.
Trupo is a new kind of insurance company, built by and for freelancers. Backed by the Freelancers Union and Sequoia Capital, Trupo offers a first-of-its-kind insurance product that protects the freelancer way of life through tailored and affordable insurance options. Through a partnership with reinsurer RGAX, Trupo is able to pair its extensive knowledge of the freelance community with RGAX’s deep insurance experience and capital. This new insurance model is designed to serve the unmet needs of the 57 million American workers who are classified as freelancers.
Additional information may be found at http://www.trupo.com | Twitter: https://twitter.com/HelloTrupo | Facebook: https://facebook.com/HelloTrupo | Instagram: https://instagram.com/hello_trupo | LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/trupo/
About Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union is the largest and fast-growing organization representing the 57 million independent workers across the country. It gives its 375,000+ members a voice through policy advocacy, benefits, and community. Since its founding, Freelancers Union has fought for and won protections for freelance workers, including Unincorporated Business Tax reform and successfully advocating for new models for health care. In 2016, Freelancers Union led a victorious campaign to enact first-of-its kind legislation in New York City giving freelancers unprecedented protections from nonpayment. Learn more at www.freelancersunion.org.
About The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. More information can be found at www.fordfoundation.org.
About Sequoia Capital
From idea to IPO and beyond, the Sequoia team helps a small number of daring founders build legendary companies. We spur them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from our unmatched network and the lessons we’ve learned over 45 years working with Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, John Morgridge, Jerry Yang, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jan Koum, Brian Chesky, Drew Houston, Adi Tatarko and Jack Dorsey, among many others. In aggregate, Sequoia-backed companies account for more than 20% of NASDAQ’s total value. We’re proud that their success also fuels great causes. The vast majority of money we invest is on behalf of non-profits and schools like the Ford Foundation, Mayo Clinic and MIT, which means that the returns generated from the incredible achievements of founders can make a massive difference.
Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated, a Fortune 500 company, is among the leading global providers of life reinsurance and financial solutions, with approximately $3.3 trillion of life reinsurance in force and assets of $59.8 billion as of June 30, 2018. Founded in 1973, RGA is recognized for its deep technical expertise in risk and capital management, innovative solutions, and commitment to serving its clients. With headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri and operations around the world, RGA delivers expert solutions in individual life reinsurance, individual living benefits reinsurance, group reinsurance, health reinsurance, facultative underwriting, product development, and financial solutions. To learn more about RGA and its businesses, visit the company’s website at www.rgare.com.
Arun Sundararajan, Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business
“Many freelancers save actively, even to the point where they underinvest in their businesses. And yet when something happens and a freelancer can’t work for a while, savings built up over months or even years are quickly wiped out,” said Arun Sundararajan, Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of The Sharing Economy. “In fact, this absence of an effective economic buffer impacts workers across the spectrum—and with the ongoing seismic shift to freelancing and crowd-based capitalism under way, fashioning a new social safety net is a central 21st century public policy challenge. Trupo is pioneering a solution to this problem, enabling millions in the workforce to secure their financial futures using innovative insurance products that have simply not existed in the past.”
Jon Stein, Founder & CEO of Betterment
“Betterment’s mission is to empower people to make the most of their money so they can live better lives. That’s why partnering with Trupo is such a natural fit,” said Jon Stein, Founder & CEO of Betterment, the largest independent online financial advisor. “Together, we can make significant progress towards achieving our mission of empowering hardworking Americans to make the most of their financial resources. Freelancers will now not only have access to a low cost tech-enabled investment service, but also to an affordable, effective insurance product ensuring that they have the safety net they deserve.”
Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank
“Freelance workers, though independent-minded and entrepreneurial by nature, understand that they all benefit when they come together for a common good,” said Keith Mestrich, CEO of Amalgamated Bank. “Through Trupo, freelancers are creating their own safety net that will provide income stabilization in the event they’re unable to work. Amalgamated Bank was founded on the vision that workers are stronger together and Trupo operates under that same model of building and providing financial products tailored to meet the needs of hardworking people.”