John Hancock on the significance of psychological wellbeing
Also in 2016, long before the world came under the clumsy grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization described stress as “the 21st health epidemic of things like fatigue, headaches, chest pain because of the far-reaching negative effects it can cause and upset stomach to more serious problems like chronic pain and substance abuse.
It is in the interests of insurers to keep their customers and employees as sane as possible. One company that is directly addressing this issue is John Hancock, an insurance, wealth and asset management solutions provider owned by Manulife Financial.
“Mental wellbeing is something we are very focused on as a company,” said Lindsay Hanson (pictured), director of behavioral insurance, global strategy and deployment at Manulife and John Hancock. “We have taken a big step forward in recent years and built relationships with our customers that not only promote their financial well-being, but also their physical and mental well-being. We believe there is a great opportunity to connect with our customers on all of these different levels. “
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While the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked greater public awareness of mental health, it is by no means a new topic and the insurance industry has long been concerned with how best to support its customers in this area.
In 2018, John Hancock introduced his HealthyMind benefit to John Hancock Vitality – a program that gives John Hancock life insurance clients access to tools and resources to lead longer, healthier lives. The benefit to mental wellbeing came from “active listening,” explained Hanson, responding to customers’ needs and wants.
“When we introduced John Hancock Vitality in 2015, our main focus was on physical fitness,” said Hanson. “Then we added our HealthyFood benefit in 2016, which focuses on the importance of good nutrition. From then on, we really listened to our clients saying, ‘What about meditation? What about yoga? What about therapy? How about a good night’s sleep? These are all things that are important to me and are an important part of my overall wellbeing. ‘ That led to the introduction of our HealthyMind advantage. “
The HealthyMind Benefit rewards John Hancock Vitality members for taking steps to give their minds and bodies the relaxation and rejuvenation they need to improve their overall health. Members earn points for things like meditation and a good night’s sleep, which can translate into life insurance premium savings and instant savings on select advertised items. John Hancock Vitality PLUS members also receive a free premium subscription to Headspace – a meditation app – as well as a free Amazon Halo that members can use to record and improve their sleep patterns.
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“During the pandemic, we saw increased customer engagement with two key components of the HealthyMind benefit – meditation and sleep,” Hanson told Insurance Business. “Before the pandemic, we had about 1-2% use of these services, so about 1-2% of our customers used the Headspace app or told us they slept well by taking out a 30-day deal have a challenge to get X hours. Although we were happy with this usage, we knew we could do better. That is why we wanted to let our customers know, among other things, that we are there for them when and how they need us.
“We upgraded Headspace membership to Premium so that our members can use the app as they please, and we’ve seen an increase. More than 12% of our customers are now taking advantage of the HealthyMind pillar of our John Hancock Vitality program – that’s a significant increase. And we’ve seen an even greater increase in sleep benefit [and customers using] the education we offer to get a good night’s sleep has been great for us. “
Anecdotally, through customer feedback, Hanson said that John Hancock’s three-pillar approach (financial, physical, and mental wellbeing) is popular. She said customers had “high appreciation” for John Hancock’s “comprehensive” approach to wellbeing, as reflected in increased involvement in the benefits of the plan.
“Mental wellbeing is something we really believe in,” said Hanson, “and we will continue to offer these services to our customers and continue to listen to their voices to understand how we can do more. We will continue to provide the latest and greatest, whether through research, education, science, technology devices […] but also to keep the discussion about mental well-being and how we can continue to support it up to date. This is an absolutely ongoing trend for us at Manulife and John Hancock, both for our customers and for our employees, and I hope other insurers will do the same. “