John Hancock links new Amazon wearable to Vitality program

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When Amazon was getting ready to launch its new wearable technology and digital health platform, Halo, it reached out to John Hancock to see if the life insurer was interested in being a partner. John Hancock’ s Vitality program, in market since 2015, has used a lot of the similar in-market technology that Amazon was planning to use.

Now that the platform, Amazon Halo, is launching, John Hancock Vitality is on board as a partner. Soon, all John Hancock Vitality customers will be able to link the Amazon Halo Band to the program to earn the Vitality points that translate to premium discounts and other benefits for meeting health goals. The Halo Band will be the featured complimentary wearable for Vitality members, coming with three years of Halo membership when it is released publicly.

“Amazon reached out to us, in the fall of 2018, around the time we launched our Vitality for All strategy,” says Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance. “They were pushing into health and wellness and work with leading companies in relevant sectors. We’ve been working with them since to explore a range of opportunities.”

While the synergies between Vitality, which rewards customers for meeting health goals that they self-report or link from certain wearable tech, and Halo are somewhat obvious, the goal for John Hancock is to remain device-agnostic and bring new strengths from Halo for customers that may benefit from them.

“For something like adequate sleep, it’s very important for determining longevity and overall health, but we didn’t have a strong component for that as some other health factors,” Tingle says. “Amazon Halo has a very strong sleep measurement component -- the band is more comfortable to wear during sleep.”

But it’s not just about pushing customers to the shiny new object, Tingle cautions. There are a total of 19,000 potential Vitality points to be earned. It only takes 7,000 to reach Gold status and a range of benefits, so the company will fold Halo capabilities into those offerings.

“We want to make sure there is choice and alternatives for our customers,” says Lindsay Hanson, head of partnerships and innovation for John Hancock.

As the launch nears, Tingle believes its reaching a receptive audience for life insurance and health management. The COVID-19 pandemic, he says, has led more consumers to think about their own mortality, and how their underlying health impacts that risk. That creates a big opportunity for Vitality, which covers both halves of that equation, he notes.

“COVID-19 has caused us to feel very validated with this strategy,” Tingle says. “Your outcome is tied to your baseline health if you get it. I saw a survey from a reinsurer that 70% of customers said they wanted to lose weight in the wake of coronavirus.”

The company’s Aspire offshoot of Vitality, launched late last year, has shown the benefit for that cohort. Controlled A1C levels, which is a major focus of the digital technology in Aspire, leads to 10% of the mortality levels of diabetics who contract COVID-19 compared to those that don’t have that level under control.

“People are saying, ‘I need to be more healthy in case we get this thing or the next thing,’” he concludes.

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John Hancock Amazon Wearable technology Life insurance