Insurance firm John Hancock is offering discounts to Fitbit users that share their activity data. 

The company has become the first to offer ratepayers a discount when they use Fitbit wristbands that enable exercise tracking.


For years now, consumers have been able to plug a dongle into their car's onboard diagnostics port and send driving data to Progressive, State Farm, or other auto insurance firms who offer reduced rates for good driving.

Now, John Hancock policyholders who wear internet-connected Fitbit can get discounts of up to 15 percent on their life insurance policy. The fitness-tracking service is part of Hancock's partnership with Vitality, a service provider that integrates wellness benefits with life insurance.

"We are reinventing the consumer life insurance experience and changing the way people think about this critical component of their overall financial health," John Hancock financial services president Craig Bromley said in a statement. "We believe this offering will make life insurance relevant for new generations of consumers and reinvigorate the entire category."

Once signed up for the program, policyholders earn points for physical activity or other healthy living activities, and then apply those points for rate discounts or other rewards.

Each year, policyholders can earn Vitality Points for activities such as exercising, getting annual health screenings and not smoking.

For example, policyholders can earn up to 30 points a day for physical activity, 200 points for having a dental screening, 400 points for getting an annual flu shot, and up to 500 points a year for taking part in athletic events, such as a 5km run.

Other than up to 15 percent rate discounts, policyholders can use points for gift cards, discounted hotel stays and airline travel.

Hancock's Vitality program also makes recommendations on how policy holders can increase their rewards points by exercising more, getting more frequent blood work for cholesterol and other indicators and by eating more fruits and vegetables.

"We want to make life insurance more immediate and relevant in the daily lives of our policyholders and help them connect their financial well-being to their long-term health," Michael Doughty, president of John Hancock Insurance, said in a statement. "The latest advancements in wearable technology are encouraging people to take a more active role in their health, and it's time we applied these innovations to create 'smart life insurance' and recognise and financially reward consumers for their positive actions."

Policyholders can set personalised goals and log their activities using online and automated tools, which are integrated with the Fitbit personalised health-tracker. They can also monitor their health with free screenings from affiliated partners, like Walgreens and Quest Diagnostics in order to earn points.

Each year the number of Vitality Points policyholder earn, the higher their "Vitality Status." Vitality Statuses include Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum; the higher the status, the bigger the reduction on premiums.

The savings can be significant, according to John Hancock. For example, a 45-year-old couple (of average health) buying the company's new Protection UL with Vitality life insurance policies of $500,000 each could potentially save more than $25,000 on their premiums by the time they reach 85, with additional savings if they live longer, assuming they reach gold status in all years.

Opt-in auto insurance programs, such as Progressive Insurance's SnapShot and State Farm's InDrive, use OBD-II dongles to transmit information about your driving habits in exchange for lower rates.

"Most Americans know they need more life insurance, and our research shows that nearly all consumers feel they could be living a healthier life. Our new products enable them to achieve both of those goals with one simple, engaging solution," Doughty said.