John Hancock, a brand of Manulife Financial, wants to encourage its policyholders to eat healthier.
How is the company doing this? By providing incentives and discounts if its customers buy lots of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods at the grocery store.
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Michael Doughty, the president of the company, said that the program is "designed to recognize that nutrition, and particularly nutrition combined with exercise, is really the best recipe for living a long and healthy life."
A year ago, the company began what is called the Vitality program, which gave out rewards to policyholders if they engaged in activities such as working out or going to the doctor for their yearly physical. The new program is an extension of the Vitality program.
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How it works
According to the company, starting April 6, policyholders who have selected Vitality insurance products will be able to opt in for the new extension of the program, and will receive a loyalty card that will record their grocery purchases at Walmart and other grocery stores. Then, they will receive discounts and cash back on purchases deemed as "healthy" — for a savings of up to $50 a month, or $600 a year!
Additionally, policyholders can earn additional points based on the "healthfulness" of an item — earning rewards like a credit card or frequent flier program. These rewards can add up to discounts of up to 15% of annual premiums.
But these financial incentives not only benefit the health of the people that use them — they also benefit the life insurance companies providing them as well.
Mr. Doughty commented, "It’s really three things that cause more than half the deaths in the U.S. People smoking, people not eating nutritious diets and people not engaging in enough physical activity."
He continued, "If our customer base can get better in those three areas, they’ll live longer, which means we’re not going to have to pay out claims as quickly."
Already the company has seen success with its original Vitality program, with participants taking twice as many steps as the average American. The company plans to offer these rewards indefinitely, as a means of encouraging healthy habits among its policyholders and taking a more positive, proactive approach to the difficult topic of life insurance.
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