Health insurance is evolving and this is changing the game for advisers and their clients, writes Vitality CEO Neville Koopowitz
The past 18 months have seen us all face a profound set of challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health and wellbeing is in the spotlight like never before. We've all seen that the unexpected can happen, which has generated a renewed awareness of the need for health and protection insurance products.
The adoption of digital technologies, particularly in healthcare, has increased dramatically. Alongside this, we've seen the rising prominence of social responsibility, which means it is no longer acceptable for a company to simply deliver good financial performance. Businesses in today's world are expected to make a positive contribution to society as a whole. As a result, the needs of advisers and their clients are radically changing too.
At Vitality, our core purpose - to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives - is at the heart of everything we do as an organisation. And it is more relevant now than ever before.
We deliver this through Shared Value Insurance, which is based on the simple insight that by incentivising healthier lifestyle choices, we can deliver economic and health benefits that are good for our members as well as intermediaries, for us as a business and good for society.
The real power of this model is in the unique integration of the Vitality Programme with best-in-class products in each of our business lines, which enable us to unlock value that we can share with our members through a range of rewards and benefits which encourage and incentivise healthy behaviour. As well as being good for the member and us an insurer, because it reduces the likelihood of a claim, a healthier population reduces the strain on the NHS and helps boost productivity.
Prevention has always been at the foundation of our health and protection propositions. Current healthcare strategies prioritise the treatment of illness when it occurs. Only 5% of healthcare spend in the UK goes towards prevention despite 40% of the total disease burden being attributable to poor lifestyle choices.
This is why we use the world's largest behaviour change programme linked to insurance to encourage our members to understand their health, get healthier and be rewarded for it.
Our data shows that our highly engaged members benefit from a 1.5-year improvement in life expectancy, while highly active members reduce their risk of hospitalisation by as much as 50%. Recent research from the Vitality Research Institute, meanwhile, suggests that even just moderate changes to physical activity and diet can have a material impact on a person's healthspan - the number of years they can expect to live in good health.
As well incentivising better lifestyle choices - such as increasing physical activity, eating better and annual health screenings - through a range of rewards and partners, we also boost value within our health insurance products through features such as ABC Renewal Pricing. This means that members can mitigate any renewal increases they encounter at renewal stage by engaging with the Vitality Programme.
To build on this, it was hugely exciting to announce a range of enhancements to our Shared Value health insurance proposition earlier this year, combining improved outcomes through consultant care and more efficient treatment journeys in a way that can share even more value with our members as well as savings in the form of cashback.
By harnessing the power of technology as part our member-driven approach with prevention embedded into its core, we truly believe we are transforming the healthcare experience in a positive way for all involved. The world is changing fast and health insurance is evolving with it. But the journey is only just starting.
Neville Koopowitz is CEO of Vitality
This article was funded by Vitality
 More than a third of people surveyed said that the pandemic has made them more aware of the need for life insurance - and 18% said making heathier choices with what they eat was a priority, Vitality research, October 2020
 Vitality GP video consultants doubled during first four months of 2021 vs. the same period in 2020, Vitality data
 The UK is estimated to lose approximately £92bn a year to ill-health related absenteeism and presenteeism. Around 40% of this productivity loss - equivalent to £39bn per annum - is due to employee lifestyle behaviours and poor mental wellbeing, Britain's Healthiest Workplace 2019, Vitality and RAND Europe
 Maximising quality of life: A primer on healthspan and lifespan - Vitality Research Institute
 Vitality client data 2019-20