A natural alignment exists between consumer health and longevity and the goals of the life insurance industry.  In fact, life insurers have been strong proponents of healthy living and disease prevention for more than 100 years.  After all, longer, healthier lives are in everyone’s best interest; individuals who live longer support the financial goals of life insurers and can lead to a society that’s more productive.

For The Greater Good

It’s no secret that Americans have struggled to maintain their health.  In fact, data shows that unhealthy behaviors are causing people to age faster.  On average, Americans are 5 years older than their actual age according to the Vitality Institute,[1] largely the result of poor health and lifestyle choices.  Things like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are strongly linked to inactivity, poor diet, alcohol use, and smoking.[2]

We know that these unhealthy trends can be reversed, but it means people must make better choices and improve their health-related habits.  That’s where businesses like John Hancock come in. As a life insurer, it’s our mission to protect people, families, and businesses at every stage of life.  Although this is our traditional role, we believe we can do more.  We believe life insurance can encourage healthy living while also helping consumers build their financial security.  And for the first time, we now have the data, tools, and technology to make this a reality.

Motivating Change

There is significant evidence that when you offer immediate rewards for healthy behavior, people make real progress and lasting change in their lives. In fact, one global study found that incentives led to a 22% increase in the number of people going to the gym over a four year period.[3] This is consistent with another survey that found incentives would strongly encourage people to walk more, get annual health screenings, and exercise regularly.[4]

The concept of behavioral incentives is not new to the industry.  In fact, many health insurance companies already offer premium savings and rewards to people that take steps toward living a healthy life.  Some car insurance companies even offer discounts to customers that are willing to install a device that measures safe driving habits.  While this incentive-based approach works well in these industries, it makes even more sense for life insurance given the long-term nature of our relationships.

A New Kind of Life Insurance

With all of these findings in mind, John Hancock has introduced a new kind of life insurance – one that rewards people for living a healthy life.  To create the most effective program, we’ve partnered with Vitality, the global leader in integrating wellness benefits with life insurance products. By offering significant premium savings, brand-name rewards and discounts based on a policyholder’s healthy lifestyle, and a free Fitbit® to help track progress, we’ve fundamentally transformed life insurance, and that’s good for everyone.

Along with death benefit protection and greater financial security, the John Hancock Vitality solution rewards members over and over again for the everyday things they do to stay healthy.  And since policyholder relationships in the life insurance industry can last for decades, a program like this can have a profound and cumulative impact on a person’s overall health.

The John Hancock Vitality solution is a great example of how business can impact society as a whole.  Companies can still make money and be profitable, while also being a positive force in the lives of their customers.  This shared value approach represents the next generation of life insurance – one that offers protection and financial security, while also supporting the consumer’s pursuit of a healthier life.

Brooks E. Tingle is Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, with John Hancock Insurance.  He is responsible for leading all of John Hancock’s insurance marketing activities and developing and implementing innovative strategies to better engage U.S. consumers and drive profitable growth.

[1]The Vitality Institute, “Vitality Age Analysis of Adult National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Respondents across Three Survey Time Periods,” 5/17/2013.

[2] World Health Organization, Non-communicable Diseases Fact Sheet, 1/2015:

[3] The Vitality Institute, Vitality Journal, Changing Behavior, 2/2014, Page 16

[4] KRC Research, via a nationwide, online survey conducted on behalf of John Hancock, 2015.

Vitality is the provider of the John Hancock Vitality Program in connection with policies issued by John Hancock.
John Hancock Vitality Program rewards and discounts are only available to the person insured under the eligible life insurance policy. Rewards may vary based on the type of insurance policy purchased for the insured (Vitality Program Member), the ownership and inforce status of the insurance policy, and the state where the insurance policy was issued.
Premium Savings will apply based on the Status attained by the life insured. Please consult your financial representative as to how premium savings may affect the policy you purchase.
Insurance policies and/or associated riders and features may not be available in all states.
Insurance products are issued by: John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Boston, MA 02117 (not licensed in New York) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595.