Tak­ing the HEALTHY OP­TION

It’s un­usual for an in­surance com­pany to mo­ti­vate cyn­i­cal jour­nal­ists to cre­ate na­tional cov­er­age, but that’s what Sov­er­eign did, tempt­ing them to dis­cover whether their health age was younger or older than their true age.

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The chal­lenge

New Zealand’s health in­surance mar­ket is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, and with its in­de­pen­dent, fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers de­mand­ing Sov­er­eign be­come com­pet­i­tive or leave the health in­surance cat­e­gory, the com­pany knew it had to change.

New Zealand has the third high­est obe­sity rate in the OECD and one of the worst di­a­betes prob­lems in the de­vel­oped world, mak­ing health in­surance a dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ment in which to suc­ceed. With price com­pe­ti­tion, high claims rates and new en­trants join­ing the health in­surance sec­tor, the need to stand out is im­per­a­tive.

Com­pany re­search was un­equiv­o­cal in its find­ings. Providers were seen as ho­moge­nous and Ki­wis were grow­ing dis­en­chanted, view­ing health in­surance as ex­pen­sive and in­creas­ingly be­yond reach. Pol­icy lapse- rates were ris­ing and to­tal New Zealand pol­icy own­er­ship was de­clin­ing.

Sov­er­eign knew it had to be dis­rup­tive to at­tract new cus­tomers. It needed to en­gage the ex­ist­ing cus­tomer base and re- en­gage its fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers. Its brand prom­ise: “Sov­er­eign. Life. Take Charge”, de­manded that it avoid con­tin­u­ing with its tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing and be­come in­no­va­tive in its think­ing and au­then­tic in its de­liv­ery.

The re­sponse

To counter the grow­ing dis­en­chant­ment in the mar­ket, ‘ Healthy by Sov­er­eign’ was cre­ated with the ob­jec­tive of mo­ti­vat­ing and re­ward­ing con­sumers to en­gage with their health by com­bin­ing big data with health be­havioural sci­ence.

It’s New Zealand’s first health pro­gramme to re­ward Ki­wis for be­hav­iours rather than pur­chases. The pro­gramme ap­plies ‘Nudge’ be­havioural sci­ence the­ory to pos­i­tively re­in­force small and eas­ily achieved be­hav­iours.

Sov­er­eign man­aged to per­suade com­pet­ing brands to form a health coali­tion to help build its value propo­si­tion of re­wards for healthy choices. Nine gym brands funded ex­clu­sive dis­counts, New World agreed to par­tic­i­pate, and Garmin, Fit­bit and Noel Leem­ing all agreed that mem­bers could buy their prod­ucts di­rect at some of New Zealand’s low­est prices.

‘ Healthy by Sov­er­eign’ helps mem­bers, as­sess and un­der­stand their health by de­ter­min­ing their Health Age via a be­spoke health sci­ence be­havioural tool called the Health Age Cal­cu­la­tor.

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