Sumitomo Life launches Vitality in Japan


Vitality Group, responsible for the global expansion of the Vitality Shared-Value Insurance model using the capabilities of Discovery and its network, are excited to announce the introduction of the first Vitality-linked insurance offering in Japan, in partnership with Sumitomo Life. Sumitomo Life Vitality was presented to employees and other stakeholders today in Tokyo, Japan.

This partnership, announced in July 2016, links the Vitality program to a Sumitomo life insurance product and uses digital technology to enable access to and discounts on Vitality program offerings. All partners expect Sumitomo Life Vitality to bring extraordinary health-promotion and insurance savings to this market.

Barry Swartzberg, CEO of Vitality Group said, “Vitality is a powerful behavior change platform, which is successfully improving the health of 8 million people in 17 markets. Today, we are excited to extend that reach even further, and introduce Sumitomo Life Vitality to Japan. Maintaining the integrity of our core Vitality offering, we aim to make the Japanese population healthier by incentivizing healthy behavior.”

On applying the Vitality model that combines life insurance with encouraging and rewarding behavior that makes people healthier, Masahiro Hashimoto, President and CEO of Sumitomo Life added, “Sumitomo Life Vitality gives us a unique position in the Japanese insurance market. The upfront discounts offer clients the ability to take a higher level of insurance. Not only are we adding to adequately protecting people financially in sickness, disability or death, but we are also protecting their healthy life expectancy when they engage with this program as part of our insurance offering. We aim to revitalize life insurance in Japan with this product and to see the combination of Sumitomo Life’s exceptional track record and sophisticated technological capabilities, paired with Vitality Group’s unique IP, create better health for society and tangible value for our clients and our business.”

Sumitomo Life Vitality insurance products will be available to the public and sales agents starting July 24, 2018. Clients who select insurance with Vitality attached to the plan receive an upfront premium saving of 15 percent. They maintain this saving and qualify for dynamic insurance premium increases or decreases based on their efforts to improve or maintain their health.

“Vitality works because it is intuitive. In a simple yet effective way, Vitality incentivizes people to understand their health, exercise more, eat better and stop smoking. With our extensive network of health and reward partnerships in Japan, we hope to see Sumitomo Life Vitality propel the success of the business, and provide the necessary shift to help lower the high number of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases prevalent among this region’s ageing population,” says Swartzberg.

Vitality is a global behavior change platform that has for 20 years used clinical research and behavioral economics to address areas that stem the rise of non-communicable diseases. With knowledge about health and access to tools that help manage risk areas, people who engage with the program qualify for insurance premium discounts, which are reviewed every year. They also get savings and rewards that lower the perceived cost barriers to eating healthily, keeping fit and taking care of their health. This rewards system drives positive behavior change over the long term, resulting in Vitality members living longer.

Swartzberg, explaining the model and how it is applied, said, “Vitality, linked to insurance, as in the case of Sumitomo Life Vitality, is a powerful mechanism to differentiate insurance offers. Healthier people translate into a more productive and healthier society, with lowered healthcare needs and costs. The clear correlation between lowering insurance risk by encouraging preventive care and healthy lifestyle habits led to us developing this model, termed Vitality Shared-Value Insurance.”

Sumitomo Life Vitality will be available to clients who are 18 years old or older. The product will be distributed through the existing financial adviser network of Sumitomo Life. The network has around 32,000 financial advisers, operating across all Japanese regions.

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