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Professional investors have pretty stringent definitions of what is and isn’t an investment. Depending on who you talk to, an investment may only be a narrow band of financial allocations, to which sophisticated improvements may be applied.
Such investors tend to deride lots of other forms of investment as mere speculation. But this is a very narrow way of thinking about investment, one which will leave most people out.
More broadly considered, investing is a simple allocation of a finite resource to a (hopefully) profitable end. Regular people make investments of time every day. They invest in products and appliances. They invest their attention in entertainment and conversation. These applications don’t often result in direct profit, but they’re investments just the same, ones which can be adjusted to start seeing more beneficial ends across the board.
In recent John Hancock insurance polling, 56% of respondents reported that they thought of life insurance as an investment tool, not a simple cost. In many ways this is true. Like a traditional investment tool, life insurance takes gradual payments and concludes with a lump sum payout.
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The thing is that it’s always paid out after the death of the person who initiated the account. It’s for this reason that the insured tend to be glad they have a policy, though they may not get warm, fuzzy feelings about it. 88% said they felt more confident about their family’s future as a result of having John Hancock life insurance. 65% said they felt lower stress.
But through John Hancock’s Vitality program, the major insurer is changing the relationship between insurance companies and their customers. Using wearable fitness technology, John Hancock is able to measure healthy habits among individual customers, and give them resulting discounts on their insurance policies. On first blush, insurance companies’ motivations in this regard might be less than clear.
But if you think about it, a health customer base requires much more infrequent payouts than an unhealthy customer base. To develop fitness in a broad cross-section of its insurance members, insurers like John Hancock are both benefiting society and saving operational costs. It’s a mutually beneficial situation that could help aging people start to take control of their health and their wallets in one fell swoop.
It’s a thought whose time has come. Prospective life insurance customers say they’re much more likely to buy a life insurance policy that makes this kind of price reduction/health plan available (84%). 87% said that this is a kind of plan that all major insurers should adopt, and it’s likely that they will get their wish.
WIth several industries simultaneously realizing that a fit population is one of the best ways to reduce health and insurance spending, with the concurrent innovation in fitness technology, it’s a way of thinking that is changing the life experience of millions of older adults. For individual consumers, it’s a way that fitness can be a real investment tool, both in oneself and in personal budgets.
I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.