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Five things you might not know about Vitality

By Daniel Turner, Strategic Partnership Consultant, Vitality

Published: 06/07/2021
With the pandemic putting health, wellbeing and the need for protection into a whole new light, we reveal a handful of Vitality-related facts that we think advisers might like to know.

The importance of changing lifestyle behaviours has been magnified by Covid-19, with underlying health conditions and unhealthy choices being identified as key factors which increase individuals’ risk of developing serious illness due to the deadly virus1.

As a result, health and wellbeing is in the spotlight like never before, while research from us found that more than a third of people said they have become more aware of the need for life insurance2 as a result of the pandemic.

Now is the time for protection to really play its role – and at Vitality, by looking holistically at the health and wellbeing of our members, we go far beyond just providing a plan that clients will only use in a crisis. Here are five fascinating facts about Vitality that you might not know.

1. Your clients are more likely to receive a pay-out on Serious Illness Cover

Vitality Serious Illness Cover covers significantly more conditions than any other provider3. In 2019 over one in 12 of our claims were for conditions that are unique to Vitality4. Three of the most common unique conditions claimed for were: Pulmonary Embolisms; Inflammatory Bowel Disease (without the need for surgery), which includes conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease; and Surgery for Cardiac Arrythmia, abnormal heart rhythm. These are common conditions that have a real financial and emotional impact on people, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for a typical client diagnosed with one of these to consider them serious or critical illnesses. Even if they were expecting a pay-out, they would only get one if their adviser had recommended Vitality Serious Illness Cover.

2. We offered cover to the vast majority of applicants during the pandemic

Roughly 95% of customers were offered underwriting terms during the Covid-19 crisis5. This is despite us, like other providers, bringing in restrictions on the maximum ratings offered on a number of chronic conditions owing to the virus back in March 2020. These changes would have affected mainly those requiring additional medical evidence, especially when we were unable to carry out nurse screenings, or high-value applications. However, we were still able to obtain GP reports (GPRs) and therefore able to offer cover even if with a rating. Since May of this year, we’ve been offering our normal maximum ratings for these applications and removed restrictions placed on some older lives, mainly those aged 65 and over. However, some caps remain at high levels of cover (above £3m), impacting relatively few applications.

3. Members who engage with the Vitality Programme are at less risk of dying from Covid

A recent report from South Africa investigated the link between a member’s level of Vitality engagement and their risk of dying upon contracting Covid-196. After isolating from all other factors, policyholders not on Vitality were five times more likely to die if they contracted Covid-19 compared to a highly engaged Vitality member. The relationship between Covid-19 risk and Vitality engagement has also been observed in the UK, with a 27% reduction in the risk of hospitalisation as a result of Covid-19 amongst Vitality members with high physical activity levels (a key component of the Vitality Programme).

4. We helped our members get more active (not less) during lockdown

After initially seeing a widespread reduction in steps, we saw a surge in physical activity levels run parallel with our Covid response, which saw us introduce Vitality at Home benefits in April 2020 and further expand them into a Winter Pack in October. These ventures offered members access to workout apps and discounts on activity trackers to encourage members to work-out at home. Alongside a range of factors, these incentives appear to have helped Vitality members get more active during lockdown. For members who took up a Vitality at Home benefit in April 2020, levels increased by an average of 25% from their pre-pandemic baseline by the time lockdown was eased in June 20207.

5. Older clients – not just young, fit gym-goers – can benefit from the Vitality Programme

A 40-year-old who starts doing just one physical activity session per week reduces their risk of being hospitalised in the next year by 13%. For a 60-year-old, this same change in behaviour corresponds to a staggering 40% reduction in the likelihood on them submitting an in-hospital claim8. The health and life insurance industry has, to a large degree, been about death and illness. Vitality is different – by using the unique capability of insurance to monetise better risk, we are able to incentivise and turn positive behaviours into additional value for members, making it not only healthy for your clients – young and old – to get active but also rewarding as part of our Shared Value Insurance model. After all, the best type of protection claim is one that is prevented – for everyone involved.

Contact your Business Consultant or call 0345 601 00720

3. Defaqto verified Competitor Comparisons, Apr 2021
4. Vitality Claims and Benefits Report, Jun 2020
5. Vitality underwriting data 2020
6. Discovery South Africa Covid-19 Special report March 2021
7. Vitality member data – those who registered for a workout app or bought a device in April 2020
8. Risk of a member claiming in-hospital over the next 12 months using causal inference. A Bayesian Network was used for causal inference and the expected impact of changes in lifestyle behaviours estimated using do-calculus. Models were built on Vitality Life and Health customer data between 2016 and 2020.

Where to next?

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  • Nick Telfer: Why not Serious Illness Cover?

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