Would Incentives Encourage You To Do More Physical Activity?

In Family, Individual, Industry News, Insurance by Paul Connolly

Could the shared-value insurance model and wearable fitness gadgets have a profound impact on people in the UK’s physical activity levels? A ground-breaking new study from an independent research institute suggests they might.

According to RAND Europe’s latest Incentives and Physical Activity report – the largest of its kind based on verified data – using Vitality Activity Rewards combined with Apple Watch led to dramatic and sustained improvements in physical activity levels of participants. In fact, compared to those without any incentives, the activity levels of participants in the study using this combination rose by 34%.

The landmark study of more than 400,000 people in the UK, US and South Africa found that the shared-value insurance model and Apple Watch combination encouraged 4.8 extra days of physical activity per month, which Vitality says translates into two extra years of life.

In the wake of the extremely positive findings, Vitality says it is committed to making 100 million people 20% more active by 2025.

Speaking at an event in London, which saw business and insurance leaders, academics and policymakers from around the world come together, Discovery Chief Executive and Vitality founder, Adrian Gore said, “This landmark study contributes to a deeper understanding of how people can be incentivised to live fitter and healthier lives… The significance for individuals, the insurance industry and wider society is profound.”

The study also revealed that Vitality participants, regardless of health status, age or gender, had increased activity levels. Furthermore, so-called ‘at-risk’ participants with a high body mass index (BMI), although less likely to take up the benefit, showed greater improvements in activity than other groups – 109% in South Africa, 160% in the UK and a whopping 200% in the US.

In terms of the largest increase in high-intensity activity, South Africa showed the most (71%), followed by the US (52%) and the UK (37%).

Participants using Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch afforded several health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and cardio-respiratory fitness, as well as lowered healthcare costs.

More About Vitality Active Rewards

The Vitality Active Rewards concept is quite simple: eligible healthcare plan holders are rewarded each month if they track their physical activity and build up what are known as ‘Vitality activity points’. These points can then be redeemed for treats like a Starbucks coffee, cinema tickets, Amazon Prime membership and more.

There’s also Vitality Active Rewards With Apple Watch, which, as its name suggests, sees eligible plan holders rewarded with an Apple Watch. While there’s an initial upfront payment for the Apple Watch, monthly repayments to cover the total amount vary depending on the individual’s level of physical activity that month.

If eligible plan holders do enough physical activity in a given month, their monthly repayment for the Apple Watch may even be £0. In other words, if they keep up their high levels of physical activity, they’ll get the Apple Watch for just their initial upfront payment (currently £99 for Apple Watch Series 4).

Discovery is a multi-national insurance group based in South Africa. Find out more about the Vitality Shared-Value Insurance model here.

I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.