The Last Word
Roll Up Your Sleeves: Insurers Offer Incentives to Entice Individuals to Get Their COVID-19 Shots
Several insurers around the world are offering reduced premiums and discounts on travel and other services to individuals who receive at least one dose of the vaccine.
- Lori Chordas
- August 2021
Every day a growing number of individuals across the globe are rolling up their sleeves to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, aiming to move the world closer to immunity and an end to the pandemic.
Yet, millions still remain reluctant to make that move.
Companies across various industries including insurance are hoping to change that with the use of unique and creative incentives to woo vaccine skeptics.
In May, India-based Reliance General Insurance announced that it was offering inoculated adult customers a one-time, 5% discount on the purchase or renewal of the company's Health Infinity policy.
The company said in a news release the incentive program reiterates Reliance General's commitment to ensuring safety for its members and provides additional ease to customers purchasing or renewing the health care policy.
As of mid-July, only 22.03% of individuals in India, the world's second-most populous country, had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Our World in Data. In April, the nation suffered a disastrous outbreak of infections from a widespread second wave that, reports cite, claimed more lives each day than in any period in 2020.
In other areas of the world, John Hancock in the United States and its parent company Manulife Financial in Canada, Asia and Europe also are trying to boost the number of inoculated individuals by awarding life insurance customers participating in the companies' Vitality program with 400 Vitality Points that can be used for reduced insurance premiums, travel and retail discounts and savings on healthy food and wearable fitness devices.
Since 2015, Vitality, which combines the financial protection of life insurance with a technology-enabled program, has offered education, support, incentives and rewards to help customers live longer, healthier lives. Just by sharing proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, customers can accumulate points that are typically earned by participating in everyday activities such as exercising and eating well.
As of mid-June, nearly 10,000 Vitality members had uploaded a photo of their vaccine card to the program's website or app to receive their 400 Vitality Points, said John Hancock President and CEO Brooks Tingle. Preventive care, he said, is a large part of the Vitality program, “and the decision to incentivize customers to get their COVID-19 vaccination is a meaningful way to recognize those who are investing in their health.”
Insurers aren't alone in the vaccination incentive crusade. Food chains such as Krispy Kreme, Shake Shack and White Castle have offered free food to those who show their vaccination cards, while retailers and grocery chains such as Target, Safeway and Albertsons are offering discounts to inoculated shoppers. Many professional sports teams, too, have at the start of their seasons handed out vouchers for free or discounted tickets or merchandise or held vaccination clinics during games.