2016 CEA Winner In Emerging Company: Lapetus Solutions

By Jenny Callison, posted May 6, 2016
Karl Ricanek Jr., cofounder/chief data scientist | Year Founded: 2015 | No. of Employees: 14 (Photo by Mark Steelman)

Beauty may be only skin deep, but the beauty of Lapetus Solutions’ technology is its aim of mining all the information that skin holds for what’s going on inside the body.

Specifically, Lapetus uses science and technology to predict life events and estimate an individual’s life expectancy, said Karl Ricanek Jr., a cofounder of the company and its chief data scientist.

Founded just a year ago, Lapetus Solutions – named for Lapetus, the Greek god of mortality – was the outgrowth of Lapetus Software, created in 2014. That company resulted from the collaboration of Ricanek, who has worked in facial recognition software at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and S. Jay Olshansky, an expert in biodemography.  In April 2015, Lapetus Software received an undisclosed amount of funding from a European investment firm and changed its name. 

Lapetus’ technology combines facial analytics with biodemography, which is the integration of biological knowledge and demographic research on human longevity, and then asks people specifically targeted questions. 

The result is faster, more accurate life events predictions for individuals, Ricanek said.

That’s of potentially great interest to life insurance companies, he said.

Analysis of a face can be revealing, especially when combined with biodemography, Ricanek explained, but dynamic questioning improves the accuracy of predictions even more.

Lapetus scientists say they have proven that by asking questions based on aging science and tailoring them to the respondent, they can generate the most accurate healthy lifespan estimates obtainable.

“Traditionally, life insurance companies ask questions to generate flags. If you have so many red flags, you are in risky company. They will ask about smoking. With our technology, we don’t assume smoking is harmful,” Ricanek said. “We treat smoking as smoking and also look for signs that behaviors do not impact that individual. We use facial analytics to gauge the rate at which they are aging. Smoking manifests in certain patterns of aging.”

Ricanek said that Lapetus’ technology can significantly reduce life insurance carriers’ underwriting costs and time. 

The underwriting time, traditionally weeks or even months, becomes a matter of minutes for Lapetus Solutions. An insurance applicant can go through the analysis process while waiting for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, he said, with the same accuracy as through the traditional risk assessment process. 

“It’s music to their ears,” when Lapetus explains its approach to life insurance companies, Ricanek continued. “Life insurance carriers are desperately looking for innovative solutions to engage their customer base. They are probably at their lowest level of subscribers ever.”

It is currently in pilots with some major carriers in the United States and is already talking with companies in Latin America, according to Ricanek.

For more info about the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, click here.

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