Life Ledger is a commercial start-up with a real social purpose. Our aim is to simplify the way in which the recently bereaved tell companies about a death. For once the public sector have got it right, the Government’s Tell Us Once service tells everyone from HMRC and DWP to the Passport Office and the DVLA about a death. The private sector has been lagging far behind until now.
The current notification process is very slow and very analogue. The notifier has to discover what accounts the deceased had, research what channel they should use to make the notification, find out what information is required, before spending hours filling in the same form, or having the same conversation over and over again.
So far, we have over 650 companies that we are sending notifications to across multiple sectors: financial institutions, utilities, insurance companies and many more. Our platform is free of charge to the consumer so everyone can use it.
In a few easy steps, we can dramatically reduce the time and stress placed on grieving family and friends, while also reducing costs for the companies being notified. It is a real testament to how technology can make a positive impact.
Our users can also Register a Life, securely storing details of accounts and policies, even a copy of their will, sparing loved ones a huge administrative burden when they pass.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The idea came from a great friend whose mother had recently died. The impact on her was visible, and in the end, it took over a year to close all the accounts her mother had. We realised that there must be a simpler solution and have built a platform that not only works for the consumer but for professionals (solicitors and probate teams) as well as for the companies we are notifying: enhancing their customer service and increasing account retention.
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How has the need for Life Ledger evolved during the pandemic?
There has been a huge shift in perception over the last 12 months, some of it was borne out of necessity, and some of it was a cultural change. Many companies that would have traditionally preferred a more direct interaction with a customer at a key life moment, like a bereavement, have been unable to do this and have had to set up a digital process in its place. This is often coupled with reduced customer support meaning it takes even longer to get through on the phone with the bereaved redirected to online forms.
Since the last lockdown, we have seen a surge of interest from the companies we are notifying, who have realised that their online processes aren’t working for the consumer and they need help smoothing out the bereavement journey.
Life Ledger had already been planned pre-pandemic, but the seismic digital change that has taken place in the last year has allowed us to gain more traction from multiple stakeholders, whether that’s the companies we are notifying, industry regulators, or consumers themselves.
Another positive outcome we’ve seen is that it has sparked a change at a governmental level – as people are now taking the impact estate admin has on the bereaved more seriously, innovation is now bringing these processes into the 21st century. This year, emergency legislation was passed to “enable documents that currently have to be physically presented in connection with death registration to be transmitted electronically or by other means”, preparing the way for deaths to be dealt with digitally.
What can we hope to see from Life Ledger in the future?
Our ambition is for Life Ledger is to become the private sector ‘Tell Us Once’. We plan to build on our existing relationships with the companies we are notifying to provide a deeper level of integration and ancillary services. We are also keen to fully leverage the digital identity space and are part of Open Identity Exchange, a group collaborating around the ID sector.
That being said we will have only succeeded when we can make death easier for the recently bereaved.