RGA provides quarterly updates on global product developments, which can be made available upon request. View the Q2 2021 digital newsletter.
The year of the pandemic has brought many changes to the insurance industry. Some of these will be fleeting and some will be more permanent.
Wellness has been an area of growth and exploration for insurers for some time. Insurers are increasingly investing in programs, technologies, and tools designed to motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors, manage chronic diseases and conditions, and live longer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increased appetite has emerged for enhanced digital health and wellness applications. As of 2020, over 400,000 health apps are available for download from app stores. Digital solutions are being offered as a way for people meet their goals and address their health challenges, and insurers see the potential for integrating wellness services into product offerings. According to a recent RGA survey of 107 global life and health insurers reveals wellness is a significant industry focus, with 85% of respondents indicating that wellness is priority.
More than ever, insurers recognize the important role wellness benefits and initiatives can play in helping them meet the needs of their policyholders and members — and to help motivate healthier behaviors that support overall physical, mental, and financial health.
The survey revealed that more than half of the respondents (67) are offering or focused on wellness with a focus on the following:
- Wellness-related products are currently offered by 71% — of those with offerings —including lifestyle products (such as gym memberships or nutrition programs) and products linked to an individual or group insurance product (e.g., life, health, critical illness, disability insurance, and long-term care benefits).
- 67% of respondents offer wellness-enabling digital tools, programs and services that are designed to support a holistic view of wellness that encompasses physical, mental health, and overall wellness. Wellness apps have been designed to help track and encourage physical activity, better nutrition, brain health, as well as holistic programs and apps such as Vitality.
- Virtual care support became a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual platforms for policyholders with virtual health care as well as resources to find physicians, specialists, or to obtain second opinions. Chronic disease management and health screenings are services being utilized for preventative health. Respondents indicated that chronic disease management is a major area of focus for future growth.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) also play an important role in wellness. These wellness offerings assist insurers in keeping their members healthy and productive in the workplace. Access to mental health support or platforms, services and tools were reported by 54% of survey respondents as part of their wellness solutions. On-demand mobile and web support and/or counselling became a necessity for policyholders during the pandemic. Respondents cited mental health as the second top area for future growth overall.
- Financial wellness tools and planning are a focus of wellness for 23%. Some insurers are offering financial health consultations and digital tools to better manage finances and thereby reducing stress for policyholders.
- Reprioritized initiatives due to COVID were focused around virtual medical care (34%); apps or technology to support mental and overall wellbeing in a virtual environment (28%); and increased wellness tools and technology to capture data for underwriting (24%). Insurers were most interested in gaining access to health and wellness portals of applicants (with consent) and apps that capture biometric data.
Wellness programs must deliver positive health impacts on to consumers, as well as the positive return on investment for insurers. In Asia-Pacific (APAC), the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, wellness offerings prioritize addressing consumer health impact (disease prevention and improved quality of life). In EMEA, wellness offerings are driven mostly by brand loyalty (retaining and attracting clients).
Overall, the ultimate goals for wellness, depending on the regions, are to enhance brand loyalty, chronic disease management, underwriting, data and analytics, product development, lead generation, and claims reduction. There are clear opportunities for wellness initiatives to continue to evolve and add value.
RGA/RGAX is highlighting the value of wellness initiatives as a tool to motivate healthy lifestyles and help companies reduce claims, provide better treatment of chronic diseases and mental health issues, as well as increase consumer engagement. The Global Wellness Survey Report shares our survey findings and offers insights from opportunity statements as well as industry use cases to highlight the value of wellness initiatives.
Still curious about product trends? View the Q2 2021 issue, and stay tuned for future releases of our quarterly newsletter to see where the next innovations will take us. RGA is ready to help you expand your product portfolio or explore the potential opportunities that are becoming available. For more detail, contact us.