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Insurers are listening and responding to social needs. How? By offering policies that reward people for improving and/or managing their health!

Why would insurers reward me for being healthy?

It is quite simple really, the healthier you are the less likely you are to claim on a health related insurance policy. It is a win win situation, the insurer is less likely to need to payout out a cash lump sum to you, and you are rewarded with lower premiums for your hard work.


How does it work?

VitalityLife have offered an optimised Life and Serious Illness Cover for a number of years now, that gives members annual rewards if they track their fitness levels on a weekly basis. The benefits of the policy can include lower monthly premiums, money off high street shops and travel companies, and quarterly cashback to name but a few.

You can earn big points towards your insurance policy with VitalityLife by attending a short annual medical at a local pharmacy to look at factors such as your height and weight, smoker status, blood pressure and cholesterol readings. By opting for their new 'Wellness Optimiser' you can also benefit from a larger up front discount by allowing these health checks to be used to partially account towards your annual Vitality Status. A good way to keep an eye on your key readings and obtaining a greater premiums discount at the same time.

Other insurers have taken note of this reward based cover and have started to take on this forward thinking approach, developing their own managed life policies.


What managed life policies are available?

As well as the VitalityLife Wellness Optimiser policy, people with a high BMI could benefit from the recently launched managed life policy from The Exeter. This policy takes into account your height and weight at the start of the policy, to calculate your current premiums and the potential ones that you could pay in the future.

The Exeter policy has quite a simple method of calculating your premiums. When you take out the policy you are told what the lowest and maximum premiums are that your policy could change to, so you have a clear financial goal to reach. Each year you provide The Exeter with your latest weight measurement and they will then either decrease or increase the policy premiums based upon this reading. Weight goes down, price goes down, BMI increases, monthly premium increases.

The added benefit of this approach? Once the policy has been in place for five years, the premiums will become locked for the remainder of the policy. If you engage with a healthy lifestyle and are successful in lowering your BMI, you will have access to lower premiums for the duration of the policy term, a clear reminder of your achievement.


Which one is better The Exeter policy or VitalityLife?

Tricky one. It really depends upon the level of engagement that you want to take in lowering your BMI and the rewards that you want from the cover. See our quick comparison below:

VitalityLife Wellness Optimiser The Exeter
Life and Serious Illness Cover Life Insurance Only
Potential 1% reduction of premium each year Potential reduction of premium in first five years of policy.

Annual premium discounts likely to be higher than Vitality
Daily and weekly fitness tracking essential plus regular health checks to monitor key vitals Yearly weight review
Quarterly cashback
Money off at high street shops, fitness programs and travel companies to name but a few. You can even earn weekly cinema tickets and handcrafted coffee.

You get a lot more rewards with VitalityLife, but you have to put in a lot more effort to maintain the policy premium and rewards levels that you want. The discounts each year are likely to be higher if you do lose weight with The Exeter. The best way to ascertain the best option is to discuss the pros and cons of each with a knowledgable insurance adviser.


What would I need to do?

To make these policies work for you, you need a mindset with a view to improving fitness or bmi. This will most likely be through a combination of exercise and healthy eating.

Popular fitness regimes include:

  • Bootcamp
  • Parkrun
  • HIT (high impact training)
  • Zumba
  • Bodycombat
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Walking

Healthy food choices can include:

  • Wholemeal bread, past and rice
  • Lean meats
  • Fresh fish
  • Fresh fruit
  • Salads and vegetables
  • Plenty of water
  • And a weekly treat!

The key factor in managing your weight is finding a fitness schedule and lifestyle options that suit you. Choose an activity that you think you will enjoy and give it a go, if you end up hating it don't beat yourself up, just try something else. Whether you choose to calorie count, join Weight Watchers, do the Atkins, Paleo or 5:2 diets, make sure that you go with an option that suits your home and work life. The last thing that you want to do is burn out!


I'm not sure if this is for me

The policy may not be for everyone. For those with a high BMI who are quite happy at their current weight, or who are really struggling to lose weight, the policy may not be suitable. These policies are fantastic because you have the power to lower your monthly premiums, but there is also the possibility that your premiums could increase if you are unable to manage your weight.

For some people lowering their BMI can be just a matter of taking on board lifestyle changes when it comes to food choices and fitness regimes. But that is not the case for everyone. Some people may have a medical condition that causes them to retain excess weight, others may be bodybuilders who are classed as having a high BMI even though they could be perfectly healthy.

The important thing is to be sensible when it comes to looking at managed life policies. If you genuinely think that you are able to engage with the policy and lower your BMI, then it could be worth looking at a managed life policy. But, if you feel that you cannot commit to, or achieve weight loss, then it may be better for you to arrange a standard life insurance policy.

The best approach is to speak to someone who knows about these products and can help you decide if they suit your circumstances. Insurance advisers such as ourselves, are used to looking at these policies day in and day out, and can provide you with a recommendation as to what type of policy you should go for. You will also find our dedicated pages for those who are overweight or have a high BMI useful.

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