Aerial view of downtown Boston and Hancock Tower, Boston, MA, USA An aerial view of Hancock Place in Boston. (Photo: Richard Cavalleri)

John Hancock says it’s now sold on the idea that building wellness incentives into life insurance policies leads the insureds to take better care of themselves.

The Boston-based company says it will put a wellness incentive program from Vitality into all new, and in-force, life insurance policies that the company provides.

(Related: Brooks Tingle to Lead John Hancock Insurance)

John Hancock — a unit of Manulife Financial Corp. — began including Vitality wellness incentive programs in some life insurance policies in 2015.

Discovery Ltd., the company that runs the Vitality program, helps John Hancock track how participants perform on metrics such as getting daily exercise, annual health screenings and flu shots.

John Hancock has been adjusting the program participants’ premiums to reflect their performance on the wellness metrics.

John Hancock says policyholders who participate in the Vitality program have been taking about twice as many steps per day as the average American, and that those policyholders engage with the Vitality program about 576 times per year.

Traditional life insurance customers engage with the life insurance company an average of just once or twice per year, according to John Hancock.

Brooks Tingle, president of John Hancock Insurance, said in a statement that we now have smart phones, smart cars and smart homes.

“It’s time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers,” Tingle said.

Program Terms

All John Hancock life policyholders will now get a free version of Vitality that relies on a phone app and a website, according to John Hancock.

The participants in that program can get discounts for certain purchases if they meet wellness program goals, but they can’t qualify for discounts on their life insurance premiums.

For $2 per month, policyholders can enroll in a version of the program that can lead to discounts of up to 15% on life insurance premiums, and to discounts on staying in 400,000 hotels listed on Hotel.com.

Starting in January 2019, participants in the $2-per-month version who qualify for “platinum” wellness activity status for three years in a row will get a one-year Amazon Prime membership.

Consumers who sign up for the $2-per-month program can earn the ability to get a Fitbit for free, or an Apple Watch for $25 plus tax.

Regulator

The California Department of Insurance has noted that, although John Hancock is famous for its ties to Boston, the unit that issues the life insurance policies is regulated by California.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement about John Hancock’s expanded use of the Vitality program that he sees it as a program that rewards people for taking steps to be healthier, not as a program that penalizes less active consumers.

“When this new life insurance product was filed, we worked to expedite approval so California consumers could benefit from more life insurance options as well as monetary discounts for healthy living,” Jones said. “I am excited about the success the program has had so far and am hopeful it will continue as John Hancock implements this change to its policies.”

— Read Time to Jog: John Hancock Offers Discount for Good Behavioron ThinkAdvisor.

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