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California insurer offers discounts with all life policies to encourage healthier lifestyles

News: 2018 Press Release

For Release: September 19, 2018
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California insurer offers discounts with all life policies to encourage healthier lifestyles
California one of the first to approve innovative program for state’s fifth largest life insurer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today John Hancock will stop selling traditional life insurance policies in California and all of the company's life insurance policies will now provide policyholders with discounts for taking steps to improve their health. After its initial success, California's fifth largest life insurer is now including the program in all its life insurance policies at no additional cost.

The Vitality Life Insurance Program allows consumers with active and healthy lifestyles the option to lower their premiums by accumulating Vitality Points for health-related activities such as exercising, getting a flu shot and logging their annual visit to the doctor. The points are translated into discounts. In 2015, Commissioner Jones became one of the first insurance regulators in the nation to approve this program so that Californians who take care of their health could be rewarded with financial incentives.

"Innovative products like the Vitality Life Insurance Program keep California's insurance marketplace healthy and vibrant and give Californians more options to decide how best to meet their insurance needs," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "When this new life insurance product was filed, we worked to expedite approval so California consumers could benefit from more life insurance options as well as monetary discounts for healthy living. I am excited about the success the program has had so far and am hopeful it will continue as John Hancock implements this change to its policies."

Since initiating the program, John Hancock reported their policyholders with the program take nearly twice as many steps as the average American, have logged more than 3 million healthy activities including walking, swimming, or biking, and engage with the program approximately 576 times a year.

"The remarkable results of our Vitality offering convinced us this is the only path forward for the industry," said Brooks Tingle, president and CEO of John Hancock Insurance. "We have smart phones, smart cars and smart homes. It's time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers. We are very appreciative of the thorough and expedited review and approval by the California Department of Insurance, which made California one of the first states to approve our innovative new product."

This life insurance program does not penalize or shift costs to consumers who are less active, but instead offers an actuarially sound method to provide discounts for those policyholders who choose to live a healthy lifestyle, and are therefore likely to increase life expectancy. The product has been available in other countries for some time.

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Media Note:

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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