Insurance App

How to Insure Good Health

Just one more mile and I'll have enough app points for a new blender! Source: AP
Just one more mile and I'll have enough app points for a new blender!
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    An innovation that excites insurers sparks skepticism among data privacy advocates concerned that it could affect customer premiums and privacy.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The app will work with supermarkets, gyms and makers of fitness equipment to reward a healthy lifestyle.
    • One in three Germans is responsive to the idea of passing on health- and fitness-related data.
    • Critics worry that insurance firms will use the data to drive up some peoples’ premiums.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

In the future, a typical conversation at a supermarket checkout counter if the plans of insurer Generali Germany come to fruition could go something like this: “Oh, you are buying the locally grown organic lettuce? Do you have a Vitality Card? You can earn 30 points for your health insurance.”

Generali intends to offer a health app for smartphones that rewards “health-conscious behavior.” The program, named “Vitality,” is slated to come on the market early next year, said Christoph Schmallenbach, Generali’s managing director, at a press conference in Cologne on Thursday.

The insurance company is seeking partners such as supermarkets, fitness studios and makers of fitness wristbands. Mr. Schmallenbach said a need exists to rethink approaches to insurance and respond to the needs of young customers — 40 percent of Germans ages 14 to 29 want an insurance that has functions like Facebook, Apple or Amazon.

And according to the market research agency YouGov, one in three Germans is responsive to the idea of measuring health- and fitness-related data and passing it on to an insurance company in order to reap financial rewards. The survey found that 41 percent have at least one health-related program installed on their smartphone and three-quarters of them actually use it.

More than half of those surveyed believe insurance programs of this sort offer a welcome possibility to save money. The findings are cited by the company’s headquarters in Cologne.

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