Life insurance company John Hancock announced that soon all its policies would include the option to let the company track your fitness mainly through a fitness tracker such as Apple Watch or Fitbit.
The change highlights how fitness tracker data is a gold mine still largely untapped for companies, especially in industries such as insurance, whose financial results depend directly on the health of its customers.
There is some solid evidence that if the use of the devices is paired with incentives like rewards, challenges and leaderboards (“gamified,” in social science parlance) people can see real health benefits. It’s probably no accident, then, that the John Hancock policies lean heavily on those kinds of incentives.
There is evidence that if the use of tracking app or devices is combined with incentives such as rewards, challenges and leaderboards (“gamified” in the language of the social sciences) people can get real health benefits. John Hancock’s policies are based largely on such incentives.
The big question: Will customers buy it?
According to a study based in Singapore, found in 2016 “no evidence of improvements in health outcomes” in relation to a control group, among the people who were assigned randomly to use a Fitbit. A similar study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016 found that among 470 overweight young adults, people randomly assigned to a physical tracker lost a little less weight over a period of two years than the group that did not receive a tracker.
These studies come with some caveats, including the fact that the actual tests involved were carried out between 2010 and 2014, using first-generation fitness trackers that lacked many of the features of current models.
A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Heart Association, for example, found that among sedentary office workers, the Fitbits used in conjunction with the entire office’s grading tables and challenges were more effective to get the workers out of their seats that only Fitbit.
A separate study published in JAMA Internal Medicine this year found that people who used a service that gamified their Fitbits, offering them points for scored goals and level progression, achieved their daily goals significantly more often than users who did. they did not have such elements.
John Hancock’s new insurance program
It’s call Vitality and incorporates many of these elements similar to games. The most important is the following: the more active people are, the lower their insurance premiums, up to a 15 percent savings in annual premium costs, or $ 300 per year for a life insurance policyholder typical term.
In Spain, PuntoSeguro was one of the first life insurers to bet on this type of program thanks to our solution for Insurance companies and today, hundreds of its policyholders are saving part of their premium and winning prizes every month.
In the long term, there may be real benefits for consumers willing to share their fitness data with insurers, especially if the practice extends to health insurance providers. People who track their physical condition may end up enjoying better health and receive cheaper insurance compared to those who do not.