Peter Stockhammer, Managing Director of Generali Vitality, has enjoyed a long career in the Life insurance space and is a passionate advocate of advancement and innovation within the sector. He says that to truly drive forward new strategies, operatives need to understand how to liaise with each other and provide suitable support.
Originally, Stockhammer ended up in the life segment by chance following a new career opportunity. But the shift in perspective is one he’s embraced. He explains, “What attracts me now about the sector is the challenges it presents. We're living in a fast-moving world, and despite that, life and health insurance contracts have very long durations. So, it means you have to make a decision based on risk factors over long, long periods.
For example, say someone is buying a retirement plan in his early 30s. His contract runs for 35, 40 years, and the health proposition runs alongside the main customers for the rest of their life.”
The concept of incentivising wellness via the Vitality initiative, was first established in 1997 by the Discovery Group in South Africa. It is the world’s largest, scientifically proven wellness programme and has expanded its global operations to countries all over the world with over 10 million members.
Generali Vitality combines actuarial, behavioural and clinical tools in a step-by-step programme that helps members improve their health through wellness activities and healthy lifestyle choices. Members receive rewards for getting healthier, and this has a positive impact on the mortality and morbidity experience in the insurance business and in society.
Stockhammer explains how the relationship between a wellness app and one of the world’s oldest life insurance companies was forged.
He says, “It started with a journey six years ago. Generali was founded in Trieste, Italy, and is celebrating its 190th birthday so we are nearly 200 years old. A company founded in Trieste in Italy.
“In terms of digitalisation and innovation, you have to bear in mind when the company was set up. It was in a time when cars didn’t even exist. So our challenge was rooted in trying to move a 184-year old insurer into the digital era.”
Stockhammer and his team were tasked with creating a legal entity and startup within the global group to bring a digital, app-driven product to its customers. They then decided to add prevention as an additional service to the protection cover they were offering.
“People are living longer,” he says simply. “Each person on this planet (especially those born this year in Western Europe), will, in all likelihood, live until they are over 100. But our main objective has to be; "If you're getting 100 years old, how many of those 100 years will you live healthily?”
He adds, “While people are living longer in the West, we are also seeing trending health problems like obesity, poor nutrition, and the general negative impact this has. If we can reduce this by incentivising our products to help people, it’s a great motivator."
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Concentrating on continuing to reduce future morbidity and mortality, and really giving people healthy life years, remains our key strategic focus.