Insurance and the Apple Watch

In September of last year, Discovery of South Africa announced its collaboration with Apple to create Vitality Active Rewards. There was very little detail, but it was clear that the Apple Watch would be a key part of the program and that the program would roll out in January 2016.

I, for one, have been looking forward to this late Christmas present ever since that announcement and, I must say, Discovery did not disappoint. So let’s unwrap this gift and take a look at what’s inside.


Rewards and Penalties

The most striking feature initially is that members can now get a “free” spanking new Apple Watch for signing up with the Vitality Active Rewards program. While free fitness trackers are not unheard of with such programs, an Apple Watch is considerably more valuable and arguably more desirable than the FitBit or Misfit device typically given away. So Discovery has put a very enticing reward to attract members to the program.

However, there is a catch. Discovery understands that the program needs to continually engage members to be really effective in driving the health and fitness outcomes that will prove to be win-win for both Discovery and the participating members. To that end, the Apple Watch comes at a price. If all weekly fitness targets are met over 24 months, then the watch is free. Should the member miss some or all of the targets in any month, then depending on the number of targets missed they have to pay a monthly penalty of between 1/24 to 1/48 the cost of the watch.

It’s a clever move.

Studies have shown that penalties are 3 times more effective than rewards in motivating behavior change. I expect members will try that much harder each week and month to meet their personalized fitness goals to avoid handing over their hard earned money to Discovery for their Apple Watch.


Regular Rewards and the Power of Teamwork

Discovery has also included weekly rewards to be enjoyed when members hit their fitness targets. It’s small – a free drink at Discovery’s partners – but enough for members to feel rewarded. The program touts even more rewards coming in 2016 – free domestic flights and waiver of monthly fees for gym memberships – and of course it’s all built on regularly meeting the weekly personalized fitness goals.

Additionally, Discovery knows the power of peer pressure and has included the concept of Team Rewards. It works as follows: the member teams up with three buddies, if the member and two of those three buddies all hit their weekly targets, then the member gets an additional weekly reward. Nothing like a little encouragement from friends, especially if they’re going to get something out of it.


The Power of the Watch & App

Of course the Vitality Active Rewards program is all tied together by the Apple Watch and the Discovery App. The Apple Watch gathers the activity data and the Discovery App tracks progress and manages the rewards process.


The Bottom line

Discovery, through Vitality, has been a pioneer in holistic life style insurance since the late 1990s and has developed an array of rewards. This latest innovation of Activity Rewards should really boost engagement if customers are willing to accept the challenge. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this plays out over the coming year.


I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. If you did, please let me know by hitting the like button. If you want to see more of my “off the wall” comments, you can follow me on Twitter @ITInsuranceGuy. Finally, I am keen to hear what you have to say, so please use the comment panel and share your views.

See you next time.


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  1. Cesta Sol10 says:



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