The COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness about the importance of health and wellbeing. Life and health insurers are enhancing their insurance products and improving their wellness and holistic wellbeing solutions. Chubb is the latest insurer to place greater focus on wellbeing and is targeting Asia.

In its latest move, Chubb has launched Chubb LifeBalance in South Korea, a wellbeing app that assesses users’ lifestyles. According to GlobalData’s Financial Services Survey, the penetration rate of health insurance in South Korea stood at 75.2% in 2020, while this was lower for life insurance, at 59%. Increased product personalisation, customer engagement, and financial rewards can all contribute to improving an insurer’s competitive edge.

The Chubb LifeBalance app first landed in Asia in May 2020, when Chubb made it available to customers in Hong Kong. Since then, the app has been launched in Myanmar and Thailand, in addition to its most recent expansion. However, the concept is not new to South Korea, with AIA Life having operated the Vitality program since 2018. Both the Chubb LifeBalance and AIA Vitality apps are intended to be used with a wearable device, such as those provided by Fitbit or Garmin. The apps enable users to enter their wellness goals and will reward them with coupons that can be used with popular retailers for completing physical and mindfulness exercises or changing other lifestyle habits, including nutritional intake.

There remain certain limitations to coupling wellbeing apps with wearable devices. Firstly, not everyone owns a wearable device – for instance, our survey shows that although 97% of adults in South Korea own a smartphone, this proportion falls to 37.2% for wearable devices.

While insurers can offer these at a discounted rate to customers, some will feel discouraged by having to share their personal data with an insurer, while others will merely not want to use such devices. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened interest in health and wellbeing, with lockdowns, social distancing, and other measures introduced to curb the spread of the virus straining the mental health of many individuals.

The interest in health promotion among life and health insurers goes beyond keeping customers engaged and happy. Improving health awareness and making customers feel more in control of their physical and mental wellbeing and lifestyle choices can ultimately improve their health and reduce the number and severity of claims.

In turn, insurers who can get customers to share their data can eventually offer more personalised premiums, which can also incentivise customers to adopt healthier habits. Insurance offering wellness solutions can do nothing but inspire wellness.