Time to Jog: John Hancock Offers Discount for Good Behavior

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It’s not just your spouse who thinks you really should be jogging more. Now it’s your life insurer, too.

Manulife Financial Corp.’s John Hancock Life Insurance will discount premiums by as much as 15 percent for policy holders who track and perform well on metrics such as daily exercise, annual health screenings and flu shots, the company said Wednesday in a statement. New customers will also receive a Fitbit Inc. fitness tracker to monitor their every step.

“There’s value created in people living longer, besides to the obvious benefit to the customer,” Craig Bromley, John Hancock’s president, said in a phone interview. “We’re sharing that with the customer, we’re giving them discounts and rewards.”

The program will be run by Discovery Ltd.’s Vitality Group division, which operates wellness programs for companies. Participants’ premiums can rise or fall depending on where they rank in four tiers, from bronze to platinum. The approach is new for U.S. life insurers, where customers often lock rates for decades after an initial evaluation.

Health and auto insurers are already using technology to track customers and encourage safe behaviors. Progressive Corp. runs a monitoring program known as Snapshot that rewards customers who drive fewer miles, avoid hard braking and minimize travel from midnight to 4 a.m. And about 80 percent of all large companies now tie their health insurance plans to wellness programs to control costs, according to benefits consultant Towers Watson.

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