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Logo of Discovery

Discovery is a proudly South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life insurance,...

06/04/2023 Insurance Innovation


Personalised, data-driven health recommendations to add healthy years to our members’ lives.

Innovation presentation

Discovery's wholly-owned subsidiary in the United Kingdom, Vitality UK, shares its parent Group's core purpose of making our members healthier, and enhancing and protecting their lives. This is enabled through the Vitality Programme, the world’s largest health promotion programme linked to insurance, which provides our members with a range of tools to make positive changes to their lives, and inspirational rewards for doing so.

The Vitality Programme has historically tackled a range of lifestyle behaviours known to impact on long-term health (for example physical activity, nutrition, and mental wellbeing). There is strong evidence that it drives higher engagement than comparable wellbeing programmes, and improves our members’ health. For example, Vitality members tracked over 68 million activities in 2022; are 40% more likely to improve their health risks than the general population; and on average improve their life expectancy by 1.5 years when they engage with the Programme.

Improved long-term health for our customers drives better outcomes for Vitality as an insurer, through lower claims costs, and enhanced customer retention. This is shared with our customers in the form of richer rewards and insurance benefits, many of which are linked to the Vitality Status our members achieve. For example, members on higher Vitality Statuses can benefit from lower premiums through our Vitality Life Optimiser, and Vitality Health ABC renewal pricing.

Using data and insight on our members’ behaviour, and the drivers of long-term health, last year Vitality set out to make the Vitality Programme more personalised, tackle the most important health risks facing our members, and ensure that we are better reaching those most at-risk of ill-health. This is delivered through Vitality Next Best Action.

Vitality Next Best Action uses advanced data science to predict the most important action a member can take to increase their ‘healthspan’ - years lived in good health. We then recommend that the member takes this action, surfacing the recommendation through an intuitive digital journey after the member has completed a Vitality Health Review. We have developed two specific health improvement journeys, targeting smoking cessation and weight-loss. Finally, we incentivise to take action through added Vitality points and Vitality Status Boosts, recognising the significant impact of these actions on long-term and health and mortality.

While all Vitality members completing a health review benefit from personalised recommendations, we have launched two health improvement journeys which target key risks: smoking and obesity.

The Vitality quit smoking journey is delivered in partnership with Quit Genius, and includes access to the Quit Genius platform and a 12 week 1:1 coaching programme. The Vitality weight loss journey is delivered in partnership with Second Nature, and includes access to the Second Nature app, and a 12 week 1:1 coaching programme. Members successfully completing either journey experience a boost to Platinum Vitality Status, delivering significant benefits in the form of boosted rewards and lower insurance premiums.

Vitality Next Best Action has delivered strong results. For the first cohort of members enrolled in the weight loss journey (for whom longer term data is available), 41% achieved their target of losing 4% or more of bodyweight, while 11% even achieved remission of type 2 diabetes. For the quit smoking journey, our data has indicated a quit rate of 47% for those onboarded to the programme. These results demonstrate the power of the newly personalised Vitality Programme to change our members’ lives for the better, irrespective of their starting state of health. By adding healthy years to our members’ lives, and sharing the financial savings unlocked with them, we are amplifying our Shared Value Insurance model.

We are continuing to build on the initial success of Vitality Next Best Action, and are piloting new health improvement journeys tackling other health risks, and pursuing further personalisation in our members’ engagement experience.

Uniqueness of the project

The Vitality Programme is the world’s largest health promotion programme linked to insurance, and is highly differentiated within the UK insurance market.

Vitality Next Best Action makes use of over 20 years of proprietary data on behaviour change, and the links between lifestyle behaviours and long-term mortality and morbidity outcomes – a unique data set within the insurance sector. It combines strategic partnerships with smoking cessation and weight loss platforms, with deep expertise on behavioural economics. The incentivisation of a Vitality Status Boost for members completing the journey also leverages the integration between the Vitality Programme and unique insurance benefits (such as the Vitality Life Optimiser). This equitably reflects the positive insurance impact of members’ behaviour change, and shares this value with them, further enhancing our differentiated approach to insurance pricing.

The launch of Vitality Next Best Action further establishes the Vitality Programme as a unique example of a health and life insurer which not only prioritises preventing ill-health, but has genuine evidence of delivering positive behaviour change, and through doing so improving our members’ long-term health outcomes.

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