Count calories, stay fit and pay a lower insurance premium
Insurance companies are keen on urging you to stay healthy, especially in the midst of the pandemic
In a health conscious market, portable fitness trackers are gaining popularity.
Last month, Reliance General Insurance (RGI) announced a one-time 5% discount on its insurance plan for people who get vaccinated against COVID. The discount applies to new customers as well as existing Reliance Health Infinity insurance policy owners who take the vaccine, including those who have only taken one vaccine yet.
Health insurance companies have a long history of offering their customers discounts and rewards such as gym memberships based on the “wellness points” they have collected. But the pandemic has dramatically increased the popularity of these programs.
Customers can earn “wellness points” by staying fit, that is, by exercising or walking for a certain period of time each day. The number of wellness points that a customer must achieve to earn rewards is decided by the company itself.
On September 4, 2020, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) released guidelines on wellness and preventive functions. Insurers must disclose the process and indicate the criteria for awarding these points. The guidelines also provide that the costs of administering these features are mentioned in the prospectus.
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Health insurance companies use data collected from different portable devices to measure wellness points. Wearable devices like Apple Watch and MI bracelets have various health trackers that measure heart rate, number of steps taken, and blood sugar, among others.
Apart from that, insurance companies rely on fitness apps like Google Fit and Fitbit to track clients’ fitness. Based on the number of steps taken or the amount of calories consumed over a period of time, insurance companies reward customers.
Focus on wearable sales
Interestingly, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), the Indian wearable market grew 170.3% year-on-year to a record 11.4 million units in the March 2021 quarter. Wearable watches grew the fastest in the first quarter, at 463.8%.
This statistic, combined with data from Max Life India Protection Quotient 3.0 (IPQ 3.0), Max Life’s flagship survey, conducted in partnership with Kantar, shows that a large number of urban Indians are now focusing on their fitness. They would be interested in using apps that would allow them to gain incentives in insurance premiums, the data reveals.
According to the IPQ 3.0 survey, 71% of urban Indians pay attention to health and fitness, while 30% adopt wearable and other fitness equipment. Consideration of a health app is highest in the North zone, at 64%, followed by 60% in the West, 58% in the South and 50% in the East. People have said they would be interested in using an app that allows premium discounts in response to positive health and wellness models.
Sahay Kamalji, former Managing Director and CEO of Star Union Dai-ichi Life, said: “Even though this health policy of giving incentives to the people is very beneficial for the people, it has made average progress. The main reason it is not a huge success is that it is not being marketed aggressively by companies. “