Bluestone Life is a direct-to-consumer, certified B corporation providing life and disability insurance, and a new AERO Business Partner. We think what Bluestone is doing is pretty cool. Recently we sat down together to have a conversation about vision, intention, activism, community and sustainability.
AERO: So, Carey, you and Nathan Irons, Bluestone Life’s founder and CEO, reached out to us to join our membership as an AERO Business Partner. Why do life insurance people want to hang out with sustainability junkies, environmentalists, organic farmers, and soil scientists?
CAREY: Great question! We know the life insurance stereotype. The slick salesman that’s trying to sell you something you don’t need or want…and then the whole death benefit discussion. It’s kinda creepy, right?
But Bluestone is an entirely different kind of company. Nathan founded Bluestone with the specific intention of connecting the financial industry to positive systems change. Life insurance has the power to amplify social and environmental progress through purposeful investment of insurance premiums. We provide the best possible products for our customers so they are getting value, and also support them in impacting change in the communities where they live by directing a percentage of their life insurance premium to non-profits like AERO that are working diligently for positive social and environmental change.
AERO: I notice you call yourselves Practical Activists. Can you say more about that?
CAREY: It goes beyond life insurance for us. When we think of positive systems change, we see food and finance as two large levers for change. The change we’re talking about begins on an individual level with each of us and our connection to our communities and our planet. When you think about the daily choices we make that impact our family, community and planet, you can’t get more fundamental than the food you eat, the purchases you make and where you bank. So we want to drive investment in organizations affecting positive change in the food system and finance sectors.
At the same time, we are life insurance for the change makers…the people like you who are working diligently for healthy food, alternative energy, social justice, climate change…the people who keep on believing and working toward a better future. We’ve been thoughtful about the products we provide, and how we provide them, so they provide value to folks who work hard to make the world a better place.
We want our premiums to have purpose and be part of a system of change. Does this sound idealistic or pie in the sky to you? Here’s the good news: it’s not at all. Within a community, just 100 families buying life insurance could generate $1,000,000 in Impact Rider beneficiaries to nonprofit partners. Each customer can have a significant impact and be part of business as a force for good. Every policy is issued by the only Certified B Corp life insurance carrier, that is also a 130 year-old mutual company.
AERO: Bluestone Life is based in Vermont. Tell us a bit about why Vermont and why Montana?
CAREY: Nathan and I are both Vermonters who have farming roots. My father and grandfather were dairy farmers here, and Nathan has dairy farmers, stonecutters and Abenaki in his heritage. We both left Vermont as we started our careers, and then the Green Mountains called us back home. When Nathan founded Bluestone, he knew he wanted to base it in Vermont, and knew there was a strong community here that was focused on systems change on many levels from the environment to food systems.
On the food front, we started working with the Rodale Institute and the Organic Farmers Association to support affecting change in the high cost of a poor diet. According to a Harvard Health Publishing, unhealthy eating habits cost the American healthcare system about $50 billion a year just for heart-related diseases. Our friends at the Rodale Institute have written an in-depth white paper on the topic called the Power of the Plate.
From our perspective, getting more money into the hands of organic farmers, soil scientists and conservationists, and people working for a sustainable community food systems, equitable food access, and a healthier planet means we all win together. Healthy soil=healthy food=healthy people.
Because of our commitment to a community-based business model, OFA introduced us to the Montana Organic Association (MOA). They highlighted Jamie Ryan Lockman, Executive Director of MOA, and the great work MOA is doing in affecting change in Montana. Talking to Jamie led us to AERO as a statewide organization focused on community food systems and climate change resiliency. As we got to know both organizations, we were impressed with the impactful, grassroots work both organizations do that is at the heart of the effort to create better health for families, communities and the planet. You’ve created a powerful network of changemakers in your state so we wanted to partner with you both.
One of the first things we did was recommend AERO as a 1% For the Planet Nonprofit Partner. One of the great things about 1% For the Planet is that it’s a network linking nonprofit organizations with businesses, individuals, and other donors who are taking responsibility for the environment, who purchase for the planet, and who make their money matter. So, not only can our customers support AERO with their premiums and Impact Riders through 1% for The Planet, like-minded folks throughout this global network get to learn about AERO and support its great work directly.
We feel a kinship with Montana, I think because, like Vermont, there is a long tradition of farming in your state. We also see a strong, common commitment to land stewardship, sustainable farming practices, and the power of community and neighborliness, that we recognize and which reminds us of home. We want to support that power of community across the country.
We also want to provide fellow AERO members with life insurance that supports what you’re doing, protects the land and the people you love and is aligned with your values.
AERO: Thanks, Carey. AERO was honored to be approved as a 1% for the Planet Nonprofit Partner. Welcome to Montana! Is there anything else you want to share?
CAREY: From a banking perspective, you probably know that where you bank matters. You can choose a member-owned credit union that is a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values like Clearwater Credit Union. You can also make informed investment decisions in your retirement plan or go deeper with direct investments in community development financial institutions (CDFI’s) like MoFi. These are two Montana organizations in the finance sector we look forward to working with, because of their commitment to investing in the community and acting as catalysts for positive social, economic, and environmental change.
Until we can meet in person, we look forward to virtually working with you, and getting to know many more of you in Big Sky country.
Get to know us at bluestonelife.com or give us a call anytime at 802-428-4411.