Health technology products provided by insurers need to focus on nutrition as well as fitness, according to Tim Smith, head of protection at Hannover Re.
Smith was responding to a question raised by Health & Protection at Protection Review’s ProtectX4 event where he explained that nutrition is an important element of products designed by the industry.
“If we, as a protection industry, can promote healthy lifestyles among the people we insure, then that benefits them and it also benefits insurers and ultimately, reinsurers like myself, in terms of the sorts of risks we’re running,” he said.
“I think it’s important to make products really wide-ranging as I think one of the traps that the industry has perhaps fallen into in the past has been to really focus on fitness as a key measure, for example, with wearable devices and devices that measure your step count.
“That’s all well and good for a particular part of society but it won’t appeal to the majority I would say.
“Whereas I think if we can design a product that focuses much more on holistic health and not just on fitness, then I think that would have much broader appeal and part of that is encouraging a healthy lifestyle.”
Identifying early signs of disease
Smith added wearable devices are also increasing in sophistication and are now picking up the early onset of various diseases long before symptoms start to show.
“People have talked about wearables becoming a big thing in the future and that for me is where it is going to really start to appeal to the mass market,” he continued.
“If you start to have cases where this person got diagnosed with x five months before they would have been because of this wearable device that was provided by their life insurer, that feels like there is really potential for that kind of technology and that should benefit consumers and the industry itself.”