Changing the face of life insurance

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1 Changing the face of life insurance SUMMARY y Asteron s* vision is not only to make insurance accessible and more easily understood by advisers and their clients, but also to provide better incentives to become healthier and to stay healthy y Asteron Life! is an online wellbeing program that provides tools and resources around lifestyle, nutrition and exercise y Asteron is: Taking the lead in the life insurance industry to improve the health outcomes for Australians particularly those who, through the underwriting process, are found to have preventable illnesses Shifting the focus from life insurance being a transactional arrangement with advisers and their clients, to becoming partners in their future good health Enabling customers to seize life s possibilities by combining improved health outcomes with the opportunity for reduced insurance cost Helping advisers to differentiate the advice and service they give to their clients We know of no single intervention with greater promise than physical exercise to reduce the risk of virtually all chronic diseases simultaneously. 1 2 y Every 10 minutes an Australian dies of heart disease. 3 y More than one in two Australian adults is overweight. 4 y Each year around 400,000 Australians are hospitalised with heart-related problems. 1 Booth et al, Journal of Applied Physiology Vol. 88, Issue 2, , February Heart Foundation 3 National Health Survey: summary of results, Australian Bureau of Statistics, report , 4 Heart Research Institute - * Asteron Life Limited ABN AFSL Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 1

2 5 y Every day 275 people develop type 2 diabetes. 6 y And 3,000 people each year undergo limb amputation due to diabetes. These are real people, who have families, jobs and social networks. These people are affected by conditions that limit their ability to provide for their children and maintain their quality of life. The increasing incidence of chronic preventable disease in Australia has led to the Federal Government establishing the Preventative Health Taskforce, 7 charged with addressing the role of prevention in the control of chronic disease. Prevention is the key word. Asteron aims to support customers through health and wellbeing services to address conditions that can be prevented with correct guidance around nutritional choices, activity levels and lifestyle choices. In short, Australians are living dangerously, with approximately 77 per cent of Australians having at least one chronic condition that could be prevented or controlled with a change in lifestyle and behaviours. 8 Living with any chronic condition not only puts life and lifestyle at risk, it comes at a cost to society treating these conditions consumes about 70 per cent of the annual health sector spend. 9 Asteron, like all life insurers, collects detailed personal information about social habits and health from all people applying for life insurance. That information includes health indicators such as: y Body Mass Index (BMI) y blood pressure y cholesterol levels y blood glucose levels y medical history and information about alcohol consumption and smoking The information collected provides a snapshot of Australian adult health, including the likelihood of impending chronic and preventable diseases, like cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The fact is that the life insurance industry, armed with such important information, has an obligation to help advisers and their clients not only to assure their lifestyle through life insurance, but to understand how they can proactively create a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their families. Asteron believes the purpose of life insurance is not only to provide peace of mind by helping Australians protect their dreams, but to go further, by providing an opportunity to improve the health of Australians, both today and in the future. In that way, Asteron is delivering on its promise to enable advisers and their clients to seize life s possibilities. 5 Diabetes Australia Annual Report Op. cit 7 Preventative Health Taskforce Media Release 7 July 2009 Launching the Preventative Health Taskforce 8 A Healthier Future for All Australians Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission June Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2006). Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia, 2006 (AIHW: Canberra) Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 2

3 A changing market and a changing society The insurance industry has typically focused on assessing risk and pricing the insurance policy based on that risk assessment. There has been no incentive for traditional life insurance companies to partner with advisers and their clients to improve their health. Traditional life insurers simply bank the premium and wait for the claim. Asteron s investment in the health of clients shows that there is more to life than just an insurance transaction. Asteron s vision is not only to make insurance accessible and more easily understood by advisers and their clients, but also to provide better incentives to become healthier and to stay healthy. Asteron is proactively positive about insurance taking life insurance from being a grudge purchase, to positioning insurance as something that helps people at times in their lives when they need it most. Through Asteron Life!, Asteron is: y Taking the lead in the life insurance industry to improve the health outcomes for Australians particularly those who, through the underwriting process, are found to have preventable illnesses. y Shifting the focus from life insurance being a transactional arrangement with advisers and their clients, to becoming partners in their future good health. We recognise we have a real opportunity to make a difference to the lives of Australians. Changing the paradigm Industry Standard Asteron changing the paradigm Negative positioning around life insurance (we scare with statistics) Transactional experience Sold as a deferred benefit Assess the risk and bank the premium Send annual renewal notice Wait for the claim Focus on wellness Engage with and support advisers and customers to maintain or improve health and wellbeing Self-managed online nutritional and activity programs Preventative health advisers and ambassadors A better customer experience Improved health Potentially lowered insurance costs A positive enriching relationship between insurer, adviser and customer Reposition life insurance as something that positively impacts people now and when they need it most at time of claim Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 3

4 How will Asteron do that? Asteron s online wellbeing program called Asteron Life! provides tools and resources around lifestyle, nutrition and exercise to combine health and wellbeing services with incentives that may reduce the cost of insurance. Under the traditional insurance model, a client s health, which determines their premiums, is assessed once, at the time the policy is taken out. Clients are not reassessed unless they specifically ask to be. Asteron is changing that paradigm, by offering clients the chance to be part of a wellness program and then inviting them to be reassessed after 12 months of achieving improved health indicators. Through its wellbeing program Asteron is actively investing in the wellness of clients moving from the traditional, passive role of life companies to an active relationship with the intent of improving health and providing the opportunity to enjoy reduced insurance cost. Asteron Life! supports advisers and clients to potentially lower the cost of insurance, by helping clients to improve or prevent those health indicators that lead to more costly insurance premiums. Setting goals and getting rewards Making it real for Asteron customers When assessing a person s application for insurance Asteron asks specific questions about height and weight to determine their Body Mass Index (BMI). (NOTE: BMI is only one key health indicator and it is taken into account along with a person s total health situation, including medical history and lifestyle.) A normal BMI would generally be in the range of 18.5 to In some cases, when BMI is above 32 a financial tool called a loading is applied as an additional cost to the insurance premium. The loading covers the insurer for the increased health risks associated with the insured being not just overweight. Asteron Life! combines the potential for improved health outcomes with the opportunity for reduced insurance cost. That is, we want to help people reduce their loading to decrease their cost of insurance. We do this through a review process following 12 months of sustained improvement to health. 10 World Health Organisation, Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 4

5 Let s use BMI as an example of how this could work in practice: The following case study is for example purposes only and shows the potential reduction in insurance costs available through reducing one key health indicator Body Mass Index (BMI). Frank is a 37-year-old wanting $1 million of Term Life cover. Frank s assessment shows that he has a BMI of 38. Combined with his age, that BMI would result in a loading of 50% on his insurance premium. If Frank could reduce his BMI to 31 he could be eligible to reduce his premium at next renewal by $288 (this reduction in insurance cost would be assessed as part of an holistic medical review to ensure he is otherwise in good health). Over the next 12 months* Frank undertakes the Asteron Life! program which supports him to reduce his weight through a range of tools and resources in a self-paced online environment. Having achieved his weight loss goal Frank is reassessed after the anniversary of his policy and, may be eligible to have the 50% loading removed. This is based on Frank reducing his BMI to 31 and not developing a related medical condition. (*Demonstration of sustained weight loss is key because many people regain weight lost after initially successfully losing weight, especially after rapid weight loss.) 11 The Asteron Life! program is not a quick fix, but a commitment to a life of wellbeing. Asteron has focused on reduction of BMI in considering how much a client may save in terms of financial incentives. This is because obesity is a primary health indicator of the most common premium loading, due to the fact that it can be a key causal factor in a whole range of other chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. 12 Asteron supports advisers through the service and advice they give their clients Asteron will engage with clients through their financial advisers to offer support in improving health outcomes through prevention. Advisers play an important role in helping clients not only get the right level of life cover, but also, in partnering with Asteron to get more from life than just an insurance transaction. This revolutionary approach moves Asteron out of the sea of same in the insurance industry to a position where Asteron is changing the relationship between insurer, adviser and customer to a situation where insurance can provide real benefits for advisers and their clients from the time of taking out the policy. Asteron wants to further differentiate itself from other life insurers by giving advisers and their clients the opportunity to combine incentives and services for those advisers and clients who would like to participate. 11 Katzer, L, Bradshaw, A, Horwath, C, Gray, A, O Brien, S & Joyce, J 2008, Evaluation of non-dieting, stress reduction program for overweight women: a randomised trial, American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 22, pp World Health Organisation (2000) Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic Geneva: World Health Organisation Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 5

6 Asteron Life! will: y Help people at risk of chronic health problems (diabetes, obesity, heart disease) to reduce the impact of these risk factors on their life. y Help individuals avoid developing those risk factors by supporting their decision to make important lifestyle changes. y Take well individuals from feeling healthy, to feeling fit and fantastic! The health of Australians is a huge social and public policy issue that Asteron is taking a leading position on in the Australian life insurance industry. The headline message is that, by helping Australians to become healthier, we can work towards decreasing the $94 billion that Australians spent on health-related issues in and increase the less than 2 per cent of that total that was spent on preventing illness. 13 If Asteron Life! is able to impact the incidence of heart disease, we would help to reduce the approximately $7.6 billion spent annually on managing heart disease expected to hit $11.5 billion by the year We could also impact the $10.3 billion of diabetes and associated costs. 15 At the same time we can improve the quality of life and potentially longevity of participants and increase the incentive to insure their lifestyle. Asteron s internet-based wellness program Asteron s online health and wellbeing program Asteron Life! has tools and resources that provide members with tailored nutrition, exercise and lifestyle plans. We invite advisers, new and existing clients, as well as Asteron employees, to go to to become members of the Asteron Life! program which aims to help achieve better health by providing: y Information on health and wellbeing provided by medical experts y Simple principles to live by, including recipes, tips on nutrition and activities to incorporate into daily life y Easy to navigate step-by-step programs to help members reach their goals y Tools, calculators and a wellness record to help members rate, track and monitor their progress The program takes members through the important steps to making a lifestyle change: y Take stock What does my health look like today? y Take action What do I need to do? y Create a plan What are the steps forward that will fit in with my lifestyle? y Stick to it How do I stick to a consistent lifestyle change? 13 A Healthier Future for All Australians Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission June 2009 p Heart Research Institute: Heart disease, cost, causes and prevention causes_&_prevention.pdf 15 Diabetes Australia: Understanding diabetes in Australia Diabetes-in-Australia Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 6

7 The Asteron Life! program will: y Help members benchmark their health and monitor progress over time y Walk members through small steps needed to take to make big lifestyle changes y Provide ongoing communication, support and simple principles to guide success and get results y Improve members health knowledge and ability to make positive lifestyle choices The Asteron Life! program involves a time-dependent triggering of a series of program modules, with the second weekly modules only being opened for access after the first week of the program has elapsed. Each subsequent module is then scheduled to be opened weekly, with an reminder sent to the member. By helping members to be more physically active, with better eating habits, Asteron is hoping to see: y Reduced incidences of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes y Improved ability to control blood glucose levels and/or manage insulin resistance y Reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels y Reduced body fat levels, especially around organs y Reduced chances of diabetic complications y Prevention or management of osteoporosis y Improved immune function y Protection against depression y A more active older age y Improved mental agility Will an internet-based wellness program get results? The Asteron Life! online health and wellbeing program has been developed by Fitness2live. Fitness2live is an international company, founded in Australia in 2000, delivering online health and wellbeing programs in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States. Asteron s confidence in the program is based on the results from a 2004 trial of Fitness2live s 10-week online weight loss program in association with Diabetes Australia Victoria. More than 800 people participated in the trial, with participants enjoying an average weight loss of 4.2 kilograms. The unprecedented success of this initiative was reported in the peer-reviewed journal, Health Promotion International, in McCoy, M et al, 2005 Evaluating an Internet weight loss program for diabetes prevention, Health Promotion International, Vol. 20 No. 3 Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 7

8 A paper titled Evaluating an Internet weight loss program for diabetes prevention, published in 2005 by Michael McCoy, Danielle Couch, Noel Duncan and Gordon Lynch, variously of Health 1st Pty Ltd and Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne, found that: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes but weight loss through lifestyle interventions can markedly reduce its incidence. The internet provides an opportunity for the development and implementation of lifestyle intervention programs that promote self-managed behavioural change. We developed an online weight loss program emphasizing physical activity and dietary modifications and conducted a short-term qualitative evaluation of it, examining participant recruitment from the general public, website usage and satisfaction and use of self-reported health risk appraisal records. From a total of 808 registered participants who accessed the online services, 683 (84.5%) completed at least one online health risk appraisal and of those, 464 (68%) people (364 female, aged years; 100 male, aged years) enrolled in the weight loss program. The program was met with a high level of satisfaction by participants, with 56% of feedback respondents agreeing that the program helped them achieve their goals. The program home page, the principal arrival destination of participants, was viewed an average of 29 times per participant, suggesting that the website s services were used with a high frequency. These preliminary findings indicate that the general public will use an internet-based weight loss program that involves physical activity and dietary behavioural interventions. 17 A quality program endorsed by a cardiologist and an accredited exercise physiologist The Asteron Life! program is developed by Fitness2live s scientific advisory panel, and takes into account, to the extent practicable, the health guidelines of a number of federal, state and industry bodies and associations. The Asteron Life! program has attracted two health care professionals, both leaders in their field, to act as ambassadors, they are cardiologist Dr Ross Walker and accredited exercise physiologist Dr Adam Fraser. Dr Ross Walker is an eminent practising cardiologist with a passion for people and health. He fully endorses Asteron s philosophy and determination to change the face of life insurance by partnering with customers for health and wellbeing. Dr Walker s own philosophy is in total alignment with Asteron s his life-changing message: prevention is the key. Dr Fraser is one of Australia s foremost experts in how lifestyle can prevent or control metabolic disease. Dr Fraser is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who has researched the effect of exercise on chronic disease for 15 years. Dr Fraser s PhD specifically looked at how 17 Health Promotion International, Vol. 20 No Evaluating an Internet weight loss program for diabetes prevention, McCoy, M et al Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 8

9 exercise and diet improves the way glucose and insulin work in the body and how this can prevent diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Asteron has chosen its ambassadors for their eminence in their fields, and their passion to help Asteron spread the message to more people to take up wellness as an aspiration, no matter what their current physical condition. Bringing it all together Asteron is serious about its role to ensure advisers and their clients and potential clients are healthier, happier people partnering with them to help them seize life s possibilities. Insurance is an investment in maintaining a person s lifestyle should they suffer an illness or be unable to work for a period of time, or in maintaining their family s lifestyle should they die. Asteron s focus is on preventing ill health, but, in the event of a claim, giving clients assurance about maintaining their quality of life. The Asteron Life! program is a positive step towards reaffirming the value of insurance and the role that an insurer, like Asteron, can play in the lives of Australians. Asteron cares and invests in the health and wellbeing of advisers and their clients, and we support them to have positive outcomes, whether or not they make a claim. Asteron has shifted the insurance paradigm demonstrated through Asteron Life! from providing a type of insurance that has traditionally been sold on fear and is a deferred benefit, to an insurance that provides immediate benefits, allowing members to live a healthier life. To fulfil our commitment we ve started the conversation about members health and how they can improve it, by partnering with us making the benefits of life insurance about more than just a policy. Prepared by Asteron October 2009 Asteron Life Limited ABN For further information or for interview please contact: Jordan Hawke General Manager Asteron Ph: or Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 9

10 About Asteron Asteron is a specialist provider of life insurance to financial advisers in Australia and New Zealand and is a part of the Suncorp Group. Asteron s broad range of life insurance products has been designed to protect customers, their families and businesses against the financial impacts of death, sickness or injury. About our ambassadors Dr Ross Walker Dr Ross Walker is an eminent practising cardiologist with a passion for people and health. He is regarded as one of the world s best keynote speakers and is a best-selling author. Dr Walker is now the Ambassador for Audioclinic Australia, the Medical Director and board member of IM Medical. He is also on the scientific advisory board for Zoa cell, a company that will be conducting trials of Adult Stem Cell therapy. He graduated from the University of New South Wales with Honours in 1979 and was awarded the FRACP in His special interests are advanced echocardiography, preventative screening and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Dr Walker runs a busy cardiology practice in Pymble, Sydney. Dr Walker s life changing message is universal. Prevention is the key. Dr Walker is continually praised for the entertaining, emotive style of his presentations and constantly receives testimonial as to the effectiveness of his programs. An internationally renowned health presenter and best-selling author, he is the author of six books and regularly appears in the media. Dr Walker has weekly radio shows on the Kearns & Robertson program on 2UE in Sydney & on Melbourne s 3AW with Denis Walter and is a regular health presenter on Channel Nine. Dr Adam Fraser and The Glucose Club Dr Adam Fraser is one of Australia s foremost experts in how lifestyle can prevent or control metabolic disease. Dr Fraser is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who has been researching the effect of exercise on chronic disease for the past 15 years. Dr Fraser completed his PhD at the University of Wollongong, specifically looking at how exercise and diet improves the way glucose and insulin work in our body and how this can prevent diabetes and other metabolic disorders. His research was so ground breaking and innovative that Dr Fraser was invited to present his research at many of the most prominent conferences in the world. With Christine Armarego, he is the co-author of the best-selling book Sugar Daddy and co-founder of The Glucose Club, an innovative company that guides and supports individuals into a lifestyle that will improve their quality of life, amplifying their mental and physical wellbeing. Each day The Glucose Club works with some of Australia s most influential business leaders to keep them at the top of their game. Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 10

11 Dr Fraser is a former Director on the Board of the Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science (AAESS) and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA). Dr Fraser is a regular presenter on TV and has his own regular spot on Sky Business. He has presented on Channel 7 s Sunrise, Kochie s Business Builders, Channel 9 s Today show, What s good for you and Close Up in Auckland. In June 2006 Dr Fraser was featured in the workspace section of the Australian Financial Review. He has also contributed to Business Review Weekly (BRW) and Human Capital magazine. He previously had a regular radio spot on ABC 702 and has completed countless interviews on radio programs all over Australia. About Fitness2Live Fitness2live was founded in 2000 in Melbourne, Australia, by Dr Michael McCoy, Dr Noel Duncan and Associate Professor Gordon S. Lynch. The company has a dual focus an online health and wellbeing service for corporate and public organisations and training support for elite sporting bodies such as the Victorian Bushrangers cricket team and the Richmond Football Club. Fitness2live soon attracted a blue chip portfolio of clients including the National Australia Bank, IBM and private health insurers such as Medibank Private, Manchester Unity, NRMA, SGIC and SGIO. In 2004 Fitness2live conducted a trial of a 10-week online weight loss program in association with Diabetes Australia Victoria as noted elsewhere in this White Paper. As Fitness2live s client list continued to grow in the corporate, public health, insurance and community sectors, its services expanded to include onsite services such as wellbeing seminars and healthy heart screenings. Fitness2live opened its London office in 2006 and San Francisco office in Asteron Life! Changing the face of Life Insurance 11

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