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LIMRA shared some interesting new stats from their research at their annual conference a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like 2018 is going to be another challenging year for life insurers in the North American market.

To combat market disruptors and close the current $25 trillion protection gap, the industry appears to be doubling down on key learnings from the FAANG group of companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) on adding value to customers — bringing personalized digital experiences, seeking high-velocity consumer data, analyzing it systematically, and expanding their customer advocates — all to power their future business strategies.

This industry is fighting to modernize and stay relevant to today’s customers in order to meet them where they are: offering choice, being digital and mobile-enabled, and creating simplified, seamless, and convenient customer interactions.

Expanding their current value propositions is a solution to this problem.

Experience from the last decade has clearly shown that adding health and wellness product add-ons is proving to be of interest in gaining permission and adoption on customer engagement, beyond an annual bill, especially with digital natives who prefer healthy choices.

Typical health and wellness solutions only attract about 5% of the insured population; however, there is a proven method of increasing this participation level through gamification — sparking in real life word-of-mouth and studying high-velocity data to grow from the power users.

(Related: John Hancock to Build Wellness Incentives Into All Life Policies)

Gamification is the act of deriving the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to productive, real-world activities.

The key to a successful health and wellness app that leverages gamification is to create healthy habit loops — a trigger that leads to an action, that leads to a routine and ultimately to a reward. This approach helps the user remember to use the app because there are reasons to keep coming back. Ultimately the goal is to create an investment loop where the user works toward a larger goal they have set.

Not all health and wellness solutions are created equal and few leverage gamification strategies. These five tactics have been proven to increase user engagement and participation:

  1. Establish rules to give the user clear goals and repeatable actions
  2. Elicit positive social pressure through competitive and community-based features
  3. Incentivize user actions that are in line with high-retaining behaviors
  4. Use notifications to draw the user back into the experience at a time that is most valuable to them
  5. Convert healthy behaviors happening elsewhere into reward points as a form of positive reinforcement

Done successfully, gamification in a health and wellness app will create a win-win scenario.

App users improve their health and longevity, and life insurers benefit by having healthier, more engaged and loyal policyholders who will purchase additional products and become advocates by encouraging their friends to participate.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Jane Wang (Photo: Optimity)Jane Wang is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Optimity, a Toronto and San Francisco-based company that helps insurers increase policyholder engagement through the use of their digital health and wellness platform. Before she started Optimity, she managed global clinical trials for a pharmaceutical company. She also developed tools to identify patients who may be at high risk for developing chronic health problems.