Safeguarding Health and Wealth in Uncertain Times
The past two and a half years have made us no strangers to uncertainty. Now we are asking ourselves, will health outcomes from COVID continue to improve, or will the virus present additional challenges in the near future? Concurrently, is our economy on the brink of a recession or poised for a rebound? This is a lot for individuals — as well as our industry — to process.
The pandemic and the economy have made one thing clear: When it comes to health and wealth, our priorities have shifted fundamentally. Americans are more cognizant of their health and the need to protect it, and they are looking to secure their financial futures. As an example, a CVS health survey finds 77 percent of people say they are more attuned to their health due to the pandemic. In addition, research by LIMRA and Life Happens finds 1 in 3 individuals are more likely to buy life insurance due to the pandemic — a promising sign for decreasing the life insurance coverage gap.
This moment of heightened awareness about our physical and financial well-being — and any associated vulnerabilities — is a calling for the life insurance industry. We have an obligation to serve the 60 million U.S. households that are uninsured or underinsured, but there is more we can do. We should offer life insurance that provides the financial protection consumers seek, along with the day-to-day support they need to manage their health proactively. Behavioral insurance flips the script on traditional life insurance by expanding our industry’s focus beyond death benefits to also address living well. By offering tools, resources, incentives, and rewards that can help customers live longer, healthier, better lives, life insurers can play a unique role in supporting those we serve.
At John Hancock, we recognized this opportunity and brought it to life through John Hancock Vitality, which combines life insurance with a technology-enabled program that provides support for everyday activities, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, preventative screenings, and mindfulness.
Since Vitality’s launch in 2015, we haven’t looked back. That’s because it embraces a model from which everyone stands to benefit: When customers live longer, it’s good for them and their families, and it’s good for a life insurer’s bottom line. Producers’ sales conversations become easier and more relevant to the modern consumer, by drawing a more natural connection between protecting wealth and maintaining health. Finally, promoting longevity helps communities become more resilient, prevent disease, and even decrease healthcare costs.
Historically, our industry hasn’t been an active player in promoting longevity for our customers. But right now, during this unprecedented time, we have an opportunity to change just as consumers’ priorities evolve. The time is right to commit to safeguarding health and wealth by designing products that meet both needs. Should we succeed, our customers will be healthier, our businesses will be stronger, and society will be better off.
Note: Life insurance products issued by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Boston, MA 02116 (not licensed in New York) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York, Valhalla, NY 10595. MLINY083122723-1