John Hancock Adding Wellness Component to All Life Insurance Policies

"We have smart phones, smart cars, and smart homes. It's time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers. We believe offering Vitality on all life insurance policies, at no additional cost, is the right thing to do for our customers, our business, and society," said Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance.

Calling it "a departure from the traditional life insurance business model," John Hancock announced Sept. 19 that all of its life insurance policies now will come with Vitality, a behavior change platform that rewards customers for the everyday steps they take to live longer and healthier lives. "Built on the convergence of behavioral economics and consumer technology, John Hancock Vitality policies incentivize healthier choices linked to physical activity, nutrition and mindfulness," the company's announcement stated.

"For centuries, the insurance model has primarily provided financial protection for families after death, without enhancing the very quality it hinges on: life," explained Marianne Harrison, John Hancock's president and CEO. "We fundamentally believe life insurers should care about how long and well their customers live. With this decision, we are proud to become the only U.S. life insurance company to fully embrace behavioral-based wellness and leave the old way of doing business behind."

As for why it took this step now, the announcement said change is needed because "America's health is at risk."

The company began offering Vitality as part of its overall set of offerings in 2015 in response to "a troubling shift in Americans' health: lifestyle diseases are the leading cause of death. According to the Oxford Health Alliance, just four choices — physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol and smoking — now cause more than 60 percent of deaths and 80 percent of the disease burden globally." So the company "turned to Vitality and its pairing of technology, incentives and science to inform and reward customers for making healthier choices every day."

And John Hancock said this is working: To date, worldwide Vitality policyholders are living 13-21 years longer than the rest of the insured population and generate 30 percent lower hospitalization costs than the rest of the insured population, while John Hancock Vitality policyholders take nearly twice as many steps as the average American; have logged more than 3 million healthy activities, including walking, swimming, and biking; and engage with the program approximately 576 times per year. Customers with traditional insurance engage with their life insurance company one or two times per year, on average.

"The remarkable results of our Vitality offering convinced us this is the only path forward for the industry," said Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance. "We have smart phones, smart cars, and smart homes. It's time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers. We believe offering Vitality on all life insurance policies, at no additional cost, is the right thing to do for our customers, our business, and society. We believe this is the future of our industry, and I encourage other insurance companies to follow suit."

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