By: 5 July 2024
Dead Happy enters administration: what happens now?

Leicester-based life insurance firm Dead Happy has entered administration, with Adam Stephens and Kevin Ley of Evelyn Partners appointed as joint administrators on 24 June 2024. The administrators are working to ensure that all customer policies are transferred back to the underwriting insurers with minimal disruption.


History and controversies

Dead Happy has been known for its controversial marketing strategies since its founding in 2013, aiming to provide more personal and flexible life insurance options. However, the company faced significant backlash last year after featuring an image of serial killer Harold Shipman in one of its adverts, which led to censure from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and its underwriters, Shepherd’s Friendly.


Growth and success

Despite these controversies, Dead Happy managed to grow its revenue to £2.5 million by 2023, with more than 25,000 active customer policies. The company’s approach included provocative slogans such as “Life insurance to die for” and “Life insurance for death wishes.”


Commitment to customers

Adam Stephens, partner at Evelyn Partners and joint administrator of Dead Happy, emphasised the administrators’ commitment to ensuring a smooth transition for customers: “We are pleased to be able to assist with ensuring a continuity of insurance provision for all customers as the business is wound down. Evelyn Partners has been working with the Dead Happy management team and major stakeholders to enable a smooth transition for customers.”


Customer policy continuation

In a statement on its website, Dead Happy confirmed the appointment of the administrators and outlined the continuation of customer policies: “Customer policies all remain valid. Customers should continue to make payments as they have done previously. Contact with the company should continue through the same channels.” The statement also reassured that the company remains regulated by the FCA and that the administrators will continue to liaise closely with the FCA throughout the administration process.


Administration process

Dead Happy’s administration process will see the business trading on a limited basis, with certain employees retained to assist the administrators. Adam Stephens and Kevin Ley are licensed as insolvency practitioners by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and are bound by the Insolvency Code of Ethics.


Investment and financial implications

Last year, venture capital trust manager Octopus defended its £6 million investment in Dead Happy. According to the Octopus Titan VCT plc full-year report and accounts published in May 2023, the VCT (and other investment companies run by Octopus) still had over £6 million invested in Dead Happy, although no new investments were made during that year. FT Adviser has inquired whether Octopus sold its holdings before the company entered administration or if it is expected to incur a loss on the failed insurer.


Provocative marketing approach

Despite its efforts to offer “life insurance without the bullsh*t,” Dead Happy’s provocative marketing ultimately led to its downfall. The firm’s statement following its most controversial advert reflects its acknowledgment: “Being provocative is different to being offensive and it is of course never our intention to offend or upset people. It is our intention to make people stop and think. If however you have been personally distressed by this advert, we do sincerely apologise.”


Future updates

As the administration process progresses, the administrators will continue to provide updates to customers and creditors through Dead Happy’s website, ensuring transparency and continuity of service during this transition period.


Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.