John Hancock 'reinventing' life insurance to get people healthier, living longer: CEO

  • CEO Marianne Harrison says John Hancock is "reinventing" the traditional life insurance model by only offering data-driven, interactive policies.
  • The idea is to track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones and reward policyholders for the steps they take.
  • The company offers incentives to encourage people to live healthier, longer lives.

John Hancock is "reinventing" the traditional life insurance model by going all in on data-driven, interactive policies aimed at getting people healthier, CEO Marianne Harrison told CNBC on Wednesday.

The idea is to track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones and reward policyholders for the steps they take. They can use credits to reduce their premiums and can also get discounts at places such as retail stores and hotels.

However, policyholders don't have to use something like a smartwatch to score points, Harrison said on "Power Lunch."

"There are a number of ways you can earn rewards throughout this program ... whether that's getting a regular checkup or whether that's eating healthy or reading news releases that we have in terms of how to eat nutritionally."

Female senior runner checks activity tracker.
Betsie Van der Meer | DigitalVision | Getty Images

Starting Wednesday, all policies underwritten by John Hancock will include Vitality, a behavior-change platform aimed at incentivizing people to live healthier, longer lives.

John Hancock, which has been around for 156 years and is owned by Canada's Manulife Financial, already had some experience with the platform as part of its overall insurance offerings and saw positive results.

Vitality policyholders take twice as many steps as the average American and they've received over $3 million in rewards since John Hancock started using the service in 2015, Harrison said.

However, Vitality itself isn't new — the platform has been around for over 20 years and used around the globe. According to Vitality, its worldwide policyholders live 13 years to 21 years longer than the rest of the insured population and have 30 percent lower hospitalization costs.

For those who are concerned about what John Hancock may do with all the data it collects, Harrison said the company is very cautious.

"We have been in business for over 150 years and we get a lot of very sensitive data — medical data, financial data — on a regular basis. So from a data perspective we are very careful, obviously, with what we do," she said.

However, in the end it is up to customers to determine how much information they want to give to the company.

"We are very clear in terms of how we use your data, and then you make the choice in terms of what you want to share or what you don't want to share," Harrison said.