CEO of Better to Offer Insurance Coverage for Terminated Employees

Jeffrey Simmons
Published Dec 21, 2023

Better Holdco, Inc., simply known as "Better" in the business world, is an online mortgage platform that started in America in 2014, founded by Vishal Garg, who is still the company's CEO. Better has been embroiled in an awful lot of controversy over the past two years, with issues of firing hundreds of employees over an insincere video conference, and in firing 3,000 employees just last week in America and India. During these very trying economic times, a profitable corporation firing thousands of people is always going to be met with a lot of scorn and ridicule. According to news that was just released early on March 10, Garg is actually giving something back to some of those employees who were fired. He is ensuring that Better pays for the insurance expenses of expecting mothers who were fired last week.

In total, there are 19 expectant mothers who were let go from their job in a very cold fashion. Bloomberg released information earlier that suggested Better is extending a medical benefits package for 12 months. Cobra Benefits is the carrier here, and the payments have already been arranged.

According to spokespeople from Better, the employees fired are going to receive cash severance payments. Though according to some insiders who have allegedly spoken with some former employees, these severance packages amount to only a few weeks of salary with the company. The good news is that most employees will also get their insurance for the three months, which is said to be the amount of their severance.

Of course, Better is not required to pay anything. As a private company, they can fire whomever they want, and unless there was a contract, they are not obligated to hand out anything to anyone. Even still, it's a very bad look for Better to keep firing employees in this economy while being so profitable.

The Math Adds Up

Before anyone out there goes to crown Better as some altruistic company that should serve as the definitive template for all companies hence, you may want to hold your horses. A lot of economic experts have weighed in on Better's decision to offer this extended insurance and have claimed that it's just a PR stunt that leaves Better still profiting a lot of money here. In a strictly mathematics sense, Better fired over 3,000 people in total, and is giving insurance coverage to only 19 people. If an entire insurance policy would theoretically cost the same as a salary for an employee, for the sake of argument, then Better is still coming out golden here by not having to offer anything to the remaining 2,900-plus employees let go. SO while this stands out as really great news to a lot of people, it really isn't much of a big move for such a big company.

Better is the brand, and they deal mostly online. Though under that brand you also have profitable subsidiaries like Better Mortgage, Better Real Estate, Better Settlement Services, and more. In 2021, Better bought out Property Partner in London, as well as a company called Trussie, as well as merging with the Aurora Acquisition Corp. They're a huge and profitable corporation, which is why it was such negative PR when Garg fired over 900 employees by video conference in 2021. He was forced to hide his head in the sand, only to return and fire 3,000 more people just last week.

The point here is that Better doesn't seem to do much "better" at all when it comes to treating its employees well. Is this insurance given to the 19 former employees a PR stunt so that Garg can help heal his reputation? It would be speculation to suggest so, but it would also make perfect sense for someone to believe so. The fact is that this company has enough money to buy out two separate corporations, yet cannot keep employees on staff. It really draws into question the priorities of corporations during tough economic times like these. In other words, if Garg wanted to do something to help his image, he would have ensured that 3,000 people kept drawing a paycheck, and maybe put one of those acquisitions on the back burner.

The insurance is certainly needed for those 19 people who will receive it. There is no questioning that fact. But for the thousands who no longer have their insurance, Garg's sudden burst of kindness comes across even more sour.

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