RGA provides quarterly updates on global product developments, which can be made available upon request. View the 4Q 2022
Insurers continue to offer rewards and incentives to people who lead healthier lives or who simply take the first steps to do so.
There is a growing realization that mental health support is fundamental to one’s wellbeing. In Asia, this growing emphasis on mental health includes insurance products covering related benefits, such as psychiatrist and psychologist consultations and treatment, as well as counseling services. Insurers may also cover online, or text therapy, to help people maintain their mental health. Text therapy is a new modality for counseling that enhances how and when people can receive mental health and wellness services.
In other markets, insurers are linking up with digital mental health platforms, such as ThoughtFull and Lumino Health Virtual Care, to offer mental wellness coaching as well as consultation, medication, and Inference-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (I-CBT). In South Africa, Vimbo Health is a digital therapy platform that provides CBT-based techniques. Insurers have also partnered with mental health and social media platforms such as Just Ask a Question (JAAQ), which is designed to offer more customers access to online personalized health advice.
Insurers are turning to other platforms to provide customers with help and support in managing chronic diseases. Highmark Health is launching Well360 Diabetes Management, a virtual care program powered by Onduo, for adults with type 2 diabetes. In the U.A.E., GluCare Health is launching its value-based, insurance-free monthly subscription model for diabetes management.
In the U.S., Healthy.io and Medica have linked up to offer help to customers suffering from kidney disease. Strive Health and Southern California Kidney Consultants (SCKC) provide access to data and technology resources, administrative support, management expertise, and an interdisciplinary clinical care team. The team includes nurse practitioners, dietitians, pharmacists, care coordinators, and licensed clinical social workers.
The U.K. has seen a series of wellbeing services enter the market: HealthHero 24/7, which gives access to virtual GP consultations; Thrive, a mental health app; Personal Activity Intelligence, a tool that works with a wearable device; and TrackActiveMe, an app that can help diagnose musculoskeletal problems.
Insurers are offering more specialized dental services to customers. Many have partnered with insurtech platforms to provide dental services by orthodontists trained in the Invisalign system, Quip, and the platform Teledentistry, which offers a 24/7 consultation service.
The past year has also seen the launch of health insurance plans that cover multiple family members. In Malaysia, for example, the launch of PRUFirst offers a solution specifically tailored to Gen Z. It starts with 5-in-1 protection with medical, accident, life/ total permanent disability (TPD), and payor benefits to protect Gen Z's against the financial impact of unexpected life events.
Group insurers continue to innovate to provide value beyond the basic health benefits previously offered. The realization that everyone has personalized needs has necessitated the development of plans that are flexible and customized when possible.
Group plans now offer mental health support, crisis counseling, legal and financial support, funeral support, and referral services. Referral services can include helping customers find the right daycare for their children or a senior residence for their elderly parents.
Helping customers deal with specific life events, such as the loss of a spouse or family member, has led insurers to include grief counseling as part of their group offering. Everest in Canada also offers employees funeral support services. These services can be offered via a VirtualCare platform or an app. The support provided by these platforms covers stress and wellness, work and career, legal and financial, and family and relationship services. Many of the available apps cover one of these services. Wysa and Thrive are examples of the mental health apps available.
In the U.S., Voya Financial’s myHealth&Wealth tool offers personalized benefits guidance to help employees optimize their household spending across health insurance benefits, emergency savings, and retirement. It helps provide individuals with a personalized action plan. Benefits Explorer is another tool for assisting employees in choosing the benefits appropriate to their needs. This platform includes access to live benefit counselors via chat, phone, or video.
In 2022, several simplified issue products (SIOs) have been launched in the life space. In the U.S., SIOs offered tend to be term life insurance products. They are digital and, in most cases, emphasize no need for a medical examination. Recent launches include offerings from USAA, Haven Life, Fabric by Gerber Life, Branch and Assurity, Geico, and Ladder Life. In Canada, providers and services include Teachers Life Insurance with Nowly, Empire Life with its policy for children, and Goose Insurance.
In Asia, the Pulse by Prudential app claims to process new applications in seconds. We have also seen customers combining living benefits with life insurance coverage as a key trend in Asian markets to enhance the value of life insurance.
South Africa is home to simpler onboarding processes (e.g., accelerated underwriting) and the need for smoother customer journeys. 1Life’s underwriting process can be completed completely via a call center or started online and completed via a call center. A process in which a customer answers about five questions helps speed processing for qualified applicants. Those who fail the questions are directed to full underwriting. This simplification is especially important for younger generations who desire a quick and seamless journey when buying life insurance.
Some new features in the life space include the ability for a customers to pass down a policy in its entirety to their loved one and even to the next generation. The SmartProtect Plus plan offers an innovative shared coverage option that allows a family of up to 10 people across three generations to share one limit by an insured person. Another benefit, called Flexible Change of Life Insured, gives customers the choice of up to two new life insureds, allowing them to plan for long-term financial arrangements to spread wealth across generations. Beneficiaries in some offerings may be a spouse, domestic partner, or even a business partner.
These new features offer more flexibility in legacy planning and are especially important with the upcoming transfer of wealth between Baby Boomers and subsequent generations. This is a trend to watch.
Emergence of ESG and DEI products
The younger generations now look for companies that address Environmental Social Governance (ESG ) issues and meaningfully contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. Customers are demanding ESG fund options and information about their investments' impact.
In Hong Kong, the first green life insurance plan, the BOC Life iGreen Savings Insurance Plan, launched in August. The premiums collected will be invested in various ESG investment projects. The use of proactive investment strategies such as positive screening will be adopted to identify suitable ESG investment opportunities, including sustainable development funds.
AXA Hong Kong launched The Green Premium rebate program, offering selected customers a 1% of premium rebate if customers utilize eClaim services via the Emma by AXA app. eClaim services are accessible 24/7, and there is no maximum claim amount limit.
The insurance industry taking note of DEI principles includes the launch of products specific to women’s needs and their sexual health. 2022 saw the introduction of several products specific to women, covering pregnancy to menopause.
New products are also catering to the neurodiverse, or people who have a brain that works differently from the average or “neurotypical” person. Some examples of neurodiversity are ADHD, autism, dyspraxia, and dyslexia. One policy provides an innovative neurodiversity assessment and support service to help neurodivergent members harness their strengths.
Launches of additional services for group policies that aim to be more inclusive have also taken place. These include policies now covering individuals suffering from HIV, policies supporting customers undergoing gender affirmation, and policies specifically catering to the LGBTQ+ community.
Interest in wellness programs continues across the globe. In South Africa there is a particular interest in wellness programs, with Vitality being well entrenched and now Momentum Multiply and Elevate gaining traction. The well-known Vitality program has expanded into other parts of Africa. In India, Tata AIA has partnered with Vitality to offer the program. It is accessible through an easy-to-use mobile app, and Tata AIA's policyholders can use it to avail health check-ups and adopt wellness activities, thereby benefiting from a healthier lifestyle.
Wellness programs continue to refine their offerings and now reward a person’s social and community involvement.
In the U.S., Sonic Boom Wellness announced the release of Total Rewards, a standalone rewards-focused wellness program. Total Rewards is an incentive management platform that provides companies with customized reward designs, in addition to tracking and managing wellness incentives, supporting employee recognition, fostering company values, and encouraging community involvement.
In Latin America, Betterfly, a wellness benefits platform that rewards healthy habits with social donations and life insurance, has just expanded into Peru. Betterfly is a platform that delivers nutrition tools, meditation, and fitness classes along with the ability to use BetterCoins. BetterCoins is the virtual currency for the app that one can use to support social causes.
In Asia, we see diversified wellness benefits and services, including cognitive training, diet management, mental health retreats, and wellness courses.
In the Middle East, Wellx is partnering with WHOOP to launch the region’s first lifestyle-based health insurance solution, covering everything from advanced wearable technology and gym memberships to access to health professionals, nutritionists, and life coaches. Customers can earn cashback rewards when they reach their personal fitness or wellness goals.
Stay tuned for future releases of our quarterly newsletter to see where the next innovations will take us.