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Regular exercise does have its benefits. Just ask 32-year-old Chetan Chaudhary from Madhya Pradesh and his wife. Both are fitness enthusiasts and maintain a healthy lifestyle to stay fit despite their hectic schedule. Besides the health benefits, they also get rewarded for their efforts: they don’t need to pay to renew their health insurance.

Chetan and his wife recently got a 100% return of premium on their family floater health policy. And it was not much of an effort either. All they did was complete 10,000 steps a day for over 300 days in a year.

Launched in 2021, Aditya Birla’s Activ Health Platinum Enhanced Program waives the entire premium at the time of renewal if you maintain your fitness. Chetan is among those 1,000 policyholders, who have got their full premium back against their health score. A total of 10.87 lakh members have generated their well-being score under this policy, says Mayank Bathwal, chief executive officer at Aditya Birla Health Insurance.

“I bought the family floater policy at a premium of 14,600. My wife and I crossed the number of active days that the company required for us to get eligible for 100% discount. The company’s app would showcase how many points we have collected so far. It motivated us to continue our health journey. I renewed my policy in July with the health returns that we had collected," says Chetan.

 

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How to measure active days?

One active day is equal to 10,000 steps or 300 calories burned or a 30-minute gym session per day. One needs to hit 13 active days every month to gain 100% health returns. “If you are into yoga or swimming that cannot be measured on the app, you can take a fitness assessment test every six months. in such cases, policyholders can either visit our centres or get it done at home," says Bathwal.

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While wellness benefits are part of most insurance policies, Aditya Birla claims to be the only insurer in the world offering 100% discount on renewal of premium. Insurance companies such as ICICI Lombard Health Insurance, Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance and Star Health and Allied Insurance offer limited discounts that vary in different policies. In the case of Bajaj Allianz, it is 12.5%, subject to the fulfilment of all the criteria, For Star Health, it is up to 10%. ICICI Lombard recently launched a new OPD (outpatient) and Wellness rider, ‘BeFit’, in which it offers up to 25% discount on the basic renewal premium.

“We have seen about 10% of customers who have availed of the wellness benefit discount during policy renewal," says Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head – Health Administration Team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Data from Policybazaar shows over 30% of people have renewed their policies through wellness points in Q1 FY23, compared to 20% during the same period last year. Aditya Birla Active Health, Aditya Birla Active Assure Diamond, Niva Bupa ReAssure, Star Comprehensive, Star Health Young Star, Care Plus, and Manipal Cigna Prime are among the most popular wellness renewals in that order.

Senior citizens

The premium on senior citizen policies is too high. If they maintain good health, they too are eligible for such discounts.

Take the case of 68-year-old Veena Pradhan, who pays 31,000 as annual premium on her health insurance policy. She is into yoga and completes her share of step-count. She, too, received 100% premium back minus GST. “We understand that 10,000 steps are strenuous for senior citizens, so we have reduced it to 7,500 for them," says Bathwal.

Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance has plans to launch more customer-centric products for targeted groups like senior citizens, young women, and children. For example, wellness features for senior citizens may include fall detection, emergency care, health tracking monitoring and concierge services, etc.

In fact, discounts on renewal premiums are just one part of wellness programs. There are multiple other benefits. For example, one can buy medicines and other health-related products or can pay for diagnostic tests from insurer’s service partners with the health points collected. Besides, policyholders get access to doctor consultation and health coaches for free. If customers follow the advice, it adds up to their well-being score.

Innovation on the way

South African health insurer Discovery Health has pioneered in the field of wellness benefits. Its decades-old comprehensive incentive-based wellness program Discovery Vitality not just offers health-related rewards but also retail, airline, travel discounts and more. The wellness score improves if you shop for healthy food. A similar model is expected in the country to incentivise healthy lifestyles. Aditya Birla has already tied up with seven lifestyle partners such as Amazon, Uber and Samsung. Policyholders can convert their health score into reward points when interacting with them.

Another big innovation in wellness could be about how and what you eat. “Customers are willing to share their lifestyle. If they post pictures of their breakfast, lunches and dinners, there are technological tools that can help assess if the food is nutritional. Those who maintain healthy food habits will get incentives. We have it in our roadmap for our health insurance products," says Sanjeev S, chief business officer, ACKO General Insurance.

One needs to be aware of cybersecurity concerns though. “Companies thrive on data. While they may incentivize people who stay fit, based on the data collected, it is worth noting that even companies with robust systems can get hacked. So, share only those things that are necessary. If a health insurance app wants to track your heart rate or calories, it makes sense, but you should deny the permission if it wants access to your photos/gallery or microphone," says Mandeep Gill, co-founder, Labour Law Advisor. People are increasingly driven towards a healthy lifestyle. Wellness discounts will not just help in better insurance penetration but also result in fewer claims. It’s a win-win situation for both, the policyholders and insurers.

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