As of this week, all new life insurance policies issued by John Hancock, Manulife's US subsidiary, will include the Vitality program, which rewards healthful lifestyle choices. The company says that in doing so, it is leaving the “traditional life insurance model behind.”
Existing policies will be included in the program in early 2019. In Canada, Manulife expanded Vitality to all its Family Term insurance policies in March.
“For centuries, the insurance model has primarily provided financial protection for families after death, without enhancing the very quality it hinges on: life,” said Marianne Harrison, John Hancock president and CEO, in a statement this week. “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.”
John Hancock has been offering the Vitality program since 2015. Two options are available: Vitality GO, offered at no extra cost, gives consumers access to fitness and nutritional resources and personalized health goals through an app and website. As they reach key milestones, their healthful activities are rewarded with discounts at major brand outlets.
Vitality PLUS, available for $2.00 per month, allows policyholders to purchase a Fitbit or Apple Watch at a discounted price and offers a wider range of discounts, including discounts in partnership with Hotels.com.
The insurer says that Vitality participants live from 13 to 21 years longer and generate 30 per cent less in hospital costs than the rest of the insured population.
John Hancock says it started offering this program in response to the fact that an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol and cigarette smoking cause more than 60 per cent of deaths globally, according to data from the Oxford Health Alliance.