Personal fitness and life insurance used to be two exclusive considerations. Because life insurance didn’t pay off, by its very nature, until the expiration of the person who started the policy, life insurance, at the very least, didn’t seem to favor those who maintained good standards of physical health. If anything, healthy people just paid more, as they had more monthly payments to make during their (potentially) longer lives.
But all of this is starting to change. Recent John Hancock polls reveal that prospective customers are starting to believe that it is important for health insurers to start incentivize fitness among their customer base. For those who grew up in the old way of thinking, the benefit for the customer seems obvious, but the benefit for the insurer might seem more oblique.
Life insurance has always had passive benefits for the policy holder, if not financial ones. In the recent poll, nearly 90% of respondents said that having life insurance meant that they had a lot less worry to carry around regarding their family’s future. This translated into higher personal confidence for 73% and lower stress levels for 65%. But still, these were secondary benefits. Until recently, there was no direct financial benefit for people with life insurance.
John Hancock is changing this. With their new Vitality program, they are able to track customer fitness behaviors (like walking, running, getting immunizations) using wearable fitness technologies. As customers get healthier, they have to pay less for their premiums. If it’s not immediately evident why this is a good thing for insurers, the benefit is actually twofold. For one thing, it’s great advertising. In their recent polls 87% of prospective insurance customers reported that this sort of health motivation should be standard for all life insurance providers. 84% said that such a program would make them much more likely to buy such a policy.
But a healthy customer base is also much more cost-effective for health and life insurance companies. Healthy people don’t cost as much to insure. They tend to live (and pay) longer, and they provide a more robust base, which often translates into farther reaching advertising and client acquisition focusing.
For the individual customer, it’s simply a win-win. Not only do individuals get to enjoy the primary benefits of fitness (better health, less time spent ill, fewer aches and pains, better aging, just to name a few), the lifestyle change translates into savings for the wallet. With less money spent on a life insurance or health insurance policy, that’s more money that can be invested in other ways: in travel, in family, in savings, in retirement investment. It’s a feedback loop that favors the customer and helps to build a healthier country, especially among one with as many senior citizens as the United States. As programs like this take hold, you can be sure that other industries will follow suit, and the health of a nation may just improve.
I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
Image Source: Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club