Handshake through a computer screen

A 167-year-old life insurer is boosting its wager on the youngest of companies: startups.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s Haven Life acquired startup online broker Quilt, the companies said Wednesday in a statement. Terms of the deal, the first for Haven Life, weren’t disclosed.

Life insurers have been seeking to expand technology offerings as more consumers turn to the internet for advice or transactions. MassMutual, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Aflac Inc. are among insurers that have set up venture-capital units to invest in early-stage companies. Haven Life, which sells coverage online, said the deal with Boston-based Quilt gives it a team to focus on longevity products.

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“The opportunity to collaborate with them on the annuity space was something we both got excited about,” Yaron Ben-Zvi, chief executive officer and co-founder of Haven Life, said in an interview. “And they’re so similar to us culturally in terms of that technology, entrepreneurial mindset and ability to simplify what is something that’s been historically complicated.”

Overall, insurance startups raised about $700 million in funding in the last three months of 2017, up more than 150% from the same period a year earlier, according to a report from CB Insights. Haven Life, which started selling insurance in 2015, is part of MassMutual’s focus on internal early-stage ventures.

Quilt CEO Blair Baldwin said his 3-year-old company previously sold renters and term-life policies online, which it will no longer offer after the deal.

“Longevity products are brand new for us,” Baldwin said in an interview. “We’re really going to spend the next few months doing a deep dive, figuring out where we can really move the needle in the most relevant fashion.”

Among MassMutual’s startup ventures is Society of Grownups, which had a storefront in Massachusetts aimed at encouraging younger adults to talk about financial planning. The insurer shut down the physical location in 2016 while maintaining its digital presence. MassMutual also closed another startup distribution venture, ValoraLife, routing customers back to the life insurer’s website.

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