Why Mike Serbinis wants to disrupt the employee insurance market with LEAGUE Benefits

Michael Serbinis

When LEAGUE first launched in May of last year, founder Mike Serbinis told BetaKit that he envisioned “a future where health will be high-personalized and focused on always-on prevention.” A little under a year later, Serbinis wants to bring that vision to the next level with the launch of LEAGUE Benefits, a platform specifically targeted for employers providing benefits.

Through LEAGUE Benefits, employees are provided with an allowance on both health spending accounts and personal spending accounts, and can then make the choice on what services are important to their health. Health care available on the platform include services as specialized as accessing doctors and dentists, to more preventative solutions like gym memberships and massage therapy.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for every individual to take care of their health every day. That’s the opposite of what insurance companies do.”

While LEAGUE has worked with employers in the past by only offering packaged on-site corporate wellness programs, Serbinis said that the company realized that offering its own benefits platform would be just as effective for reaching end users. “The road to market is through their employer, who is largely funding their existing health benefits. So it’s consistent with our original vision,” he said.

As LEAGUE’s focus from the beginning has been encouraging users to adopt preventative health methods, the decision to tackle an outdated insurance model which dissuades users from actually using their benefits is on-par with LEAGUE’s original vision to be an ‘Uber for health services’ that makes accessing health services quicker.

“The current idea of the insurance claim model is that ‘I’m gonna go to the dentist or physiotherapist, I don’t know if I’m eligible but I’m gonna to go and try to figure it out, and then I’m gonna figure out how to issue a claim, and then I’ll get reimbursed somewhere down the road,’” Serbinis said. “That model goes directly against me taking care of my health. It puts all kinds of roadblocks in the way. It’s about claim avoidance versus health management.”

In speaking with companies that LEAGUE works with, Serbinis realized that current benefits packages are more about minimizing use rather than encouraging employees to use the benefits available to them. “We are exploiting that insight and our goal is to make it as easy as possible for every individual to take care of their health every day. That’s the opposite of what insurance companies do.”

For tech teams, attracting and retaining top tech talent is not an easy task. As competitive benefits and perks have become a staple of startup culture — and more traditional industries take the lead in how startups try to keep employees happy — Serbinis, drawing on his experience of founding Kobo, said that LEAGUE’s new service will reduce the headache-inducing process for employers seeking benefits plans.

It’s a model that Serbinis said is already attracting the same insurance companies that LEAGUE is disrupting; he says he’s already been approached by a few since the launch of LEAGUE benefits. “It’s a huge paradigm shift in how these services should be sold and activated within minutes versus months.”

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.