Skip to main content

Discovery opens Vitality to all

Insurer Discovery has opened up its weekly Vitality Active Rewards and Vitality Drive programmes until December, in what it’s calling the Vitality Open, to incentivise anyoneto get active and drive well. This is part of a broader overhaul to Vitality Rewards 2.0.

Non-members need to download the Discovery app and complete “at least three fitness days in a goal week” (which runs from Saturday morning to Friday midnight) to be rewarded. To complete a fitness day, they can either track over 10 000 steps a day (using their smart device), complete a gym workout if they’re existing members of Planet Fitness or Virgin Active, or complete a parkrun or myrun.

Engaged Vitality members are already rewarded with free smoothies and coffees for reaching their weekly fitness goal. Discovery Insure customers earn similar rewards (and parking vouchers) for 100 km of consecutive, event-free driving each week.

The overhaul sees the mechanics changing slightly and completing either of these goals will net you one play on the gameboard. Choosing tiles on the board reveals Vitality reward points, diamonds or instant rewards. Previously, members would choose weekly rewards from a defined list and three-week streaks would earn them a surprise reward (which could be a core rewards or some bigger-ticket items).

Now, the points and diamonds can be ‘spent’ on various rewards each week, including coffees, smoothies, snacks, grocery and meal vouchers and shopping vouchers. There is now a far more diverse list of rewards and reward partners.

Because you’re able to save up points, you can choose bigger rewards than the weekly coffee or smoothie. Diamonds can be spent on rewards but also put you into a draw to win prizes “for life”, including “flights, fuel, gym, movies, concert tickets, smoothies, coffees, tyres, Uber, Nando’s, running shoes, HealthyFood and the latest iPhone”.

At the upper end, ‘diamonds’ can be ‘spent’ on R2 000 shopping vouchers at iStore, Sunglass Hut or Incredible Connection, or flights and holidays to local and international destinations. There are overseas flights up for grabs to London (on British Airways), Dubai (Emirates) and Australia or New Zealand (Qantas).

There are four types of “rare” instant rewards, which are revealed by specific icons on the game board. These include Apple Watches, R1 000 grocery vouchers, R10 000 in Discovery Investments, and international holidays.

Vitality members score in that the number of points they need to spend on the rewards is significantly lower than for non-members (for example, 100 points for a R100 shopping/meal/grocery voucher, versus 250 points for a non-Vitality member). Reward points and diamonds expire 12 weeks after being revealed on the gameboard, and for non-Vitality members, all points expire on December 15.

Source: Discovery

A full Vitality Open benefit, rewards and rules guide is available here.

Why is Discovery doing this?

The group hasn’t said much about it (electronic communication was sent to members on Monday). But Discovery has embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign to launch Vitality Open. This will obviously help drive awareness of Vitality, as well as Discovery Insure, which is almost entirely premised on good driving.

It is surely banking on being able to demonstrate the value of Vitality and in so doing convert some non-Discovery clients to the group. This is not likely to be a significant number but, by driving participation in the Vitality Open, it’ll have a large, engaged group of people to market to.

Importantly, it will have a far broader sample base to measure engagement and how it is able to get people more active (especially through evidence-based activities tracked via smart devices) by using rewards.

Principally, it is surely using Open to drive the so-called attachment rate of Active Rewards among Vitality members. By design, Active Rewards makes members more active (duh!). Increasing participation in Active Rewards aligns perfectly with the insurer’s stated objective for 2018: “to reduce inactivity among Vitality members by 30%”.

In South Africa, Discovery had 1.9 million Vitality members as at the end of June, an increase from 1.8 million a year prior. It previously stated that “more than 53% of members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme were on Vitality”.

The group has not yet disclosed the latest number of Vitality Active Rewards members (it typically does so in its annual report), but as at June 30, 2017, it had 350 000 (an increase from 234 000 in mid-2016). It described that number as “ahead of targets”, but one gets the sense that a campaign like the Vitality Open will dramatically increase usage of Active Rewards among existing Vitality members.

The impact of (healthy) ‘pressure’ from friends and family who are active and engaged in the Vitality programme ought not to be underestimated. Opening the programme up, albeit for a limited time, magnifies the effect.

By the middle of last year, one in five Vitality members had used Active Rewards. One imagines that by June this year, that number is almost certainly closer to one in four. Might the Vitality Open steer it even higher – to, say, nearly one in three?

The fitness/health side of Active Rewards is not the only angle, however. There exists a real opportunity for Discovery to convert already engaged Vitality members to Discovery Insure customers. As at end-June, Discovery Insure covered 200 000 vehicles. Assuming multiple vehicles per policyholder, this likely translates to around 130 000 or perhaps even 150 000 people. Using a (possible!) base of 450 000 Active Rewards members, there is easily scope for Discovery to cross-sell its vehicle insurance product to an engaged base double the size of the existing one.

While it’s easy to understand the premise of the Discovery Insure model – get rewarded for driving well – the nuances are more complex. However, the weekly nature of Vitality Open, with the linked drive goals, makes it simple to understand what you need to do, and what kinds of rewards this driving behaviour translates into.

(Where Discovery is probably missing a trick is not drawing a more obvious correlation to the fuel rewards you can earn if you are an engaged customer who drives well.)