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.
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.
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.