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  • February 2024
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The State of Product Development: Highlights from 2023

Product Trends Around the World 4Q

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In Brief

RGA provides quarterly updates on global product developments, which can be made available upon request. The insurance industry saw a surge of innovation in 2023, with new products emerging across multiple markets. We explore highlights from the year. 


View the 4Q 2023 digital newsletter

New developments emerged across the global annuities, employee benefits, health insurance, and life insurance markets, among others. Join us as we explore the highlights below:


Annuities provide an effective way to use one’s retirement savings to generate lots of steady cash flow that is guaranteed for life. Annuity sales seem to be climbing in the U.S., due to the recent higher interest rates. If rates continue to rise, we may see changes to maximum valuation rates, maximum standard nonforfeiture law rates, and minimum 7702 tax rates in 2025/26. Companies may have to decide how to manage portfolio rates dragged down by a history of low-yielding assets with new money strategies.

In Canada, annuities can top up other sources of guaranteed income, such as payouts from the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security. A recent Ipsos study found that many people don’t have plans to use a guaranteed income retirement product to ensure their lifetime financial security. In 2023, Manulife made its comeback to the guaranteed retirement income space after exiting in 2018. They reintroduced Manulife annuities – including term and life annuity solutions – through independent advisors. The Manulife Annuities suite offers single-life, joint and survivor, and term-certain options to address Canadians’ growing need for retirement income solutions. Another Canadian insurer, Desjardins, expanded its selection of responsible annuity products to include an advanced life deferred annuity (ALDA) through a financial security advisor.

An older man reviews his annuity premiums

Group Insurance

Employers continued to review and expand employee benefits, and employee benefit platforms can now help employees choose benefits relevant to their lifestyles. Some of these platforms offer highly tailored approaches. Insurers have linked up with employee benefit platforms such as Nayya, a leading digital platform provider of benefits decision support and engagement, giving employees the flexibility to mix and match options.

The range of employee benefits offered is continually evolving and now includes nutritional services, dental plans, vision, supplemental health plans, physiotherapy, and chronic disease management. The standard or basic package of employee benefits includes a second medical opinion, gym membership, telemedicine options, and mental health support. Insurers have partnered with programs such as Vitality that offer reward-based programs. Members can earn back their grocery, pharmacy, and fuel spend in Discovery Miles. YuLife is an app in the U.K. that equips employees with an engagement program incentivizing wellbeing initiatives and rewarding “healthy living.” The YuLife app tracks and rewards users for participating in everyday activities, such as walking and meditation. These metrics are used to calculate the YuScore, which helps YuLife customer companies gain health and wellbeing insights into their risk profiles based on employee engagement in healthy activities.

Health Insurance

Insurers no longer offer health insurance plans restricted to one-size-fits-all. We are seeing more flexible health insurance plans that cater to specific age groups, or specific life experiences.

Health insurance plans catering to specific age groups include Milele Junior, a package designed specifically for children aged between 37 weeks and 18 years. The comprehensive health plan covers vaccinations; pre-existing, chronic, and congenital illnesses; and inpatient, outpatient, and dental care.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Cigna Healthcare plan for Seniors is a new, customized health benefits plan aimed at supporting the health and vitality of people aged 60 and older. The key benefits include mental health support, lifestyle support, and full cancer care support. The mental health support includes up to 20 face-to-face counseling sessions and access to mindfulness coaches and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) psychologists. In Canada, Desjardins has launched the product Family Focus, offering access to prenatal genetic screening specialist Prenato’s support services, including access to screening tests and an educational platform. The online prenatal courses are available in English and French, together with personalized coaching and genetic counseling services.

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In 2023, we have seen insurers offer menopausal support services. In the U.K., the help is provided through a network of AXA Health-recognized specialists accredited with the British Menopause Society (BMS). Customers also have access to information and wellbeing support from nurses and counselors via a 24/7 phone line. In Hong Kong, the Better She program offers services for women that range from health check-ups, gynecological consultations, and symptom-relief treatments, to mental health support.

The Bupa Family+ plan includes exclusive savings on health insurance and caters to the whole family. All children are covered for the price of one when paying for the eldest child, who can be insured up to the age of 20, with any younger children covered on the policy for free. The plan includes these specialized services: in-home care to patients, diabetic retinal eye exams, bone-density tests, A1C screenings, blood pressure control support, and colorectal cancer screenings.

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Modular healthcare plans give customers the flexibility to choose services and premiums. Customers can easily check their coverage, access their benefits, connect with healthcare providers, and get reimbursed for their claims all in one place. DIY health plans are offered in which the customer can design his or her plan. In some instances, the customer can add on a minimum of three covers, which can include maternity benefits, road ambulance, daily hospital cash, and critical illness (CI) booster, among others.

The League’s platform of next-generation healthcare technology will help members navigate health journeys in an increasingly personalized and integrated way. The reimagined experience will enable members to connect their benefits directly with health care options – all in one place.

In Europe, we have seen the emergence of a direct billing network, and in India, an anywhere cashless feature allows policyholders to use cashless facilities at any hospital.

Mental health support for customers continues to be important. Insurers partner with insurtechs and organizations such as Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit facility for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mood disorders. They offer specialized services through, for example, Sun Life's Mental Health Coach (MHC), provided by CloudMD, or the FWD Mind Strength Support Program.

Other new value-added services include family planning benefits, a policy that covers surrogate mothers and egg donors. Services for older policyholders include companion services for medical appointments, teledermatology appointments, wardroom options, virtual behavioral programs, and palliative care at home.

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Health insurers are increasingly turning to ecosystems to provide a range of products and services.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-Specific Health Insurance Products

Some insurers have expanded their definition of “family” across their retail health insurance offerings, to include the LGBTQIA+ community and live-in partners. Family structures are changing, and different family structures have different needs.

We have also seen the expansion of leave policies. Parental leave now includes fathers and non-biological parents as well. In the U.K., we have seen the launch of leave offered for those suffering from miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

Individuals with fertility challenges represent another underserved community. We are also seeing fertility treatment being offered as an inclusive employment benefit. Insurers have linked up with specialists such as Carrot Fertility, which provides personalized, expert support for people exploring their fertility health, pursuing parenthood, already pregnant, or going through menopause. It offers concierge-level care for every family-forming journey, on one platform and payment card.

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Life Insurance

Life insurers continue to offer customers the ability to take out a policy via a digital app, with no medical examination required, and sign-up can take just a few minutes.

Customers have the options to leave their life policy, not only to a family member but also to a chosen charity, which serve both as the owner and beneficiary of the policy.

In 2023, more flexibility was introduced on the redemption of life insurance policies. For example, Spirica now offers a new instant-redemption option on its life insurance policies and capitalization, a first in the French life insurance market. Customers can immediately cash in part of their savings. They can also gift their life insurance plan. The newly launched product called the “Guaranteed Inheritance Plan,” is designed to ensure an inheritance for customers’ loved ones when they die. The plan offers several value-added services that include practical guidance on how to obtain a death certificate, as well as 24/7 live information and advice. It also includes access to the Beneficiary Companion Guidebook and access to a team of beneficiary assistance coordinators. The value-added services of will preparation, digital estate planning, resolution services, and funeral policies are also now offered.

Sureify’s strategic partnership with FreeWill enables leading life insurance companies to offer a seamless solution for individuals and families seeking to create end-of-life plans. FreeWill is an estate planning solutions platform.

As part of MetLife’s Beneficiary Claims Concierge Services, MetLife now offers employees and their beneficiaries who are enrolled in life insurance access to Empathy’s bereavement care platform through New York Life. Empathy’s[LJ1]  app is available to New York Life beneficiaries (Group and Individual) to help guide families through the complexities of loss. The platform provides administrative assistance via on-demand bereavement concierge services, estate administration experts, probate guidance, funeral assistance, and property clearance, together with family collaboration features.

The Life Gala Plan features the Life Celebration Booster Option, which offers policy owners the unlimited flexibility to top up their coverage as they reach different life milestones. Winston is an “over 50s” life insurance product dedicated to people between 50 and 80 looking to leave their families with a lump sum payment upon their deaths. This lump sum may be used to cover the costs of a funeral or as a gift to the surviving dependents. The product gives the employee freedom to use benefits with options, such as managing conditions like chronic illness or paying for at-home nursing care or funeral costs.

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Explore Product Trends Around the World 4Q


In 2023, insurers continued developing apps to perform self-service policy transactions. Customers can now view policies and contact details online, check fund values of their investment-linked products, access premium payment information and history, and secure premium payment online.

We have also seen the launch of retirement calculators, which empower individuals to assess their financial readiness for retirement by entering their current age, intended retirement age, ideal monthly income desired in today’s terms, and current savings designated for retirement (optional).

The Wysa for Return-to-Work app promotes the mental health of injured workers and facilitates a more holistic recovery. It also helps users build mental resilience skills that can assist in overcoming those barriers. The app responds to what users communicate through a secure, anonymous, texting-style platform and offers strategies that include cognitive behavioral techniques, guided meditation, and breathing exercises.

Wellness Programs

Interest in wellness programs continues across the globe and now encompasses all facets of a person’s life, from physical to mental through to financial and social.

The well-known Vitality program has just expanded into Latin America. Cigna and Virgin Pulse have launched a personalized digital experience to help customers make better health choices and develop better habits throughout their health journeys. The Virgin Pulse platform uses artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology and behavior-change science to empower customers to take control of all aspects of their health.

Wellness plans can include reward programs that offer up to $1,000 each year to those who complete daily health goals and one-time activities. The LivingWELL by MassMutual app offers customers the opportunity to voluntarily track and report physical activity and sleep using wearable data. By meeting associated goals, customers can receive cash incentives of up to 5% off their annual policy premiums.

Mass Mutual also offers eligible customers a genetic risk assessment service that provides information on customers’ likelihood of developing three common diseases: diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Their expanded service also will assess individuals’ risk levels for additional diseases, including atrial fibrillation, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and osteopenia/osteoporosis.  

Photoplethysmography (PPG) technology is proving to be an accurate and effective heart rate-monitoring technique. PPG technology can be utilized in many devices, such as clips or cuffs, and in many places on the body, such as fingers, wrists, forearms, and torso. The earlobe is also an ideal site for measurement as it contains no cartilage and is therefore supplied by larger volumes of blood.

Several financial wellness apps have launched. MetLife Upwise helps customers build positive financial habits and is offered at no cost to employers and their employees. Upwise is designed to connect consumers’ behaviors to their emotions around common financial concerns or stressors, such as monthly budgeting, paying off debt, or long-term savings. The Money Mood tool helps customers see how their emotions and finances connect and helps perform tasks such as reviewing recurring subscriptions and canceling those no longer needed. The app also gives assistance in the creation of a digital estate plan to help protect the family for the future. Truist Long Game is a mobile app that rewards clients for building financial wellness. Users can build “healthy financial habits’” with the chance to earn monetary rewards that get deposited into a linked Truist deposit account.

In the U.S., the Mayo Clinic Health System launched the new self-guided Journey to Wellness program. Participants will have access via email to a monthly toolkit that focuses on different aspects of health, including physical activity, heart health, sleep, social connections, stress, anxiety, and cancer and diabetes prevention.

The fintech Payfare Inc. offers eligible DasherDirect cardholders access to free essential health and wellness tools, including life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, through Wellness Perks. Wellness Perks Core is available at no cost for all active DasherDirect cardholders. It includes $1,000 in life insurance and $10,000 in AD&D coverage, housing, debt, and credit counseling. Wellness Perk Essentials costs an extra $1 per week and includes dental and vision savings plans, roadside assistance, critical illness insurance, accident medical coverage, group fitness classes, and mental health support. It is the first-of-its-kind comprehensive solution combining life insurance, savings, health, and wellness benefits.

To learn more about mental health insurance solutions from RGA product development experts, contact us.   

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Meet the Authors & Experts

Diana Bosworth
Diana Bosworth
Senior Research Analyst, Strategic Research