08/04/2022 Insurance Innovation


In a global first, the Vaccination Max PayBack guarantees clients up to 100% of their first year’s premiums back in cash when they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to aid South Africa’s vaccination program, leveraging the Shared-value model to return up to R182 million in premiums at the end of the first policy year, and enhance our underwriting capabilities in the process.

Innovation presentation

Considering our commitment to get clients vaccinated against COVID-19 and improving health outcomes for all, Discovery Life became the first insurer globally to incentivise vaccination through product design. By getting vaccinated against COVID-19, clients guaranteed their maximum applicable premium PayBack of up to 100% of their first year’s premiums. Resulting upfront vaccination questions have allowed us to improve underwriting and risk management.

For no additional premium, the unique PayBack benefit embodies Shared-value by returning a portion of premiums in cash. Value is created and shared when clients actively manage their health, as measured through engagement with other Discovery products, such as the Vitality wellness program and medical aid. Currently, the equivalent of 25% of total risk claims are paid in PayBacks as a reward for healthy living.

To aid South Africa’s vaccine program, Discovery Life created the Vaccination Max PayBack Offer on new policies that qualify for premium PayBacks. It guarantees that clients earn their maximum applicable PayBack in the first year of their policy, effectively resulting in life insurance for no premium for a year. This is the epitome of Shared-value where clients, society and Discovery Life all benefit from incentivised healthy client behaviours.

12 048 policies received the offer, with 4 101 (39%) having been verified as fully vaccinated and guaranteed their maximum applicable PayBack. Of these 4 101, 456 policyholders changed their initial stance and have since been vaccinated. The remainder are not yet fully vaccinated but indicated they would vaccinate within a year.

Uniqueness of the project

The offer represents the first reward to clients for vaccination of any life insurer globally. This benefit is built on the well-established foundation of Discovery’s Shared-value Insurance model, allowing our clients to share in the value generated from their healthy living. This unique model allows us to reward clients for healthy actions such as getting vaccinated, rather than having to resort to traditional but less effective punitive measures instead.

This is a disruptive innovation in life insurance in South Africa since it has a natural selective impact. At the same time, we improve the information used in underwriting, pricing, and risk segmentation. Other South African insurers can implement vaccination questions in underwriting, but they don’t have the inherent ability to verify anyone’s vaccination status.

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