The Future of Insurance Podcast – Yaron Ben-Zvi

COO, Oka, The Carbon Insurance Company

Season 6, Episode 2, June 11, 2024

Guest Bio

Yaron Ben-Zvi is an executive with a track record of building innovative businesses in complex spaces, such as insurtech and financial services. Yaron is currently COO at Oka, The Carbon Insurance Company. Oka is de-risking the voluntary carbon market (VCM) for buyers and sellers of carbon credits with first-of-its-kind carbon credit insurance, which provides buyers with financial compensation in the event of credit reversal or invalidation.

Previously, Yaron was  CEO of Haven Technologies and Haven Life. At Haven Technologies, Yaron led the build of a modern, cloud-based, and end-to-end technology platform for life insurance that became a key part of MassMutual’s transformation strategy. As Founder and CEO of Haven Life, Yaron grew the company into one of the leaders in online term life insurance distribution with its transparent and user-friendly product design. Along the way, Haven Life was recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Investopedia as one of the best term life insurance providers in the U.S.  Previously, Yaron founded Goalmine, an early robo-advisor that was acquired in 2012. 

As a leader, Yaron is passionate about creating unique and collaborative company cultures that help teams realize their potential. At Haven, Yaron had the honor to build and lead a team of more than 350 technology and insurance professionals to make life insurance simple and expand access to this critical financial product.

Yaron obtained his BA in history and political philosophy from Wesleyan University and his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Highlights from the Show

  • Yaron joined the show with the Life Insurance startup he founded, Haven
  • After leaving Haven, he was looking for an opportunity in something that connected to his interest in dealing with the climate crisis, which lead him to Oka, which insures carbon offset and credit transactions
  • Companies that use credits and offsets as part of their decarbonization strategy, the founding team at Oka realized there were a number of risks that make this difficult, with Oka focused on post-issuance risks, like
    • Reversal Risks – you buy carbon credit from a forest in Canada, but a wildfire burns that forest down. Or, illegal logging shrinks the forest. These are risks that could release the captured-carbon back into the air.
    • Invalidation Risks – the methodology behind the carbon credit was flawed, like fraud being committed in the actions that lead to the carbon sequestration
  • Oka was only started in 2023, and today has their own syndicate at Lloyd’s, capacity from partners, and the technology to support it – with a team of seven people
    • The CEO, Chris Slater, comes from the industry, as do the board of directors, so there’s a lot of experience building insurance businesses
  • The carbon market is split into two sub-markets
    • Voluntary Market – companies that are choosing to decarbonize
    • Involuntary Market – government or regulators force compliance with certain standards and timelines
  • Both markets are growing rapidly out of necessity, and there are buyers and sellers that need protection
    • Some buyers want protection if they’re newer to the market, or are doing something unproven
    • Some sellers who want to enhance the attractiveness of their carbon credits and to protect themselves from something going wrong that makes it hard for them to deliver or fulfill the credits they’ve sold

Watch the Episode

Listen to the Episode

Thank you to our sponsor

This episode is brought to you by The Future of Insurance book series, part of the Future of Insurance thought leadership series (future-of-insurance.com) from Bryan Falchuk.

Like the music in the show?

Stream or download music from Hyperbeat Music on your favorite platform.