What if the billion dollar insurance industry is facing a new trend? The 300 year old business model is clear. People face risks, like getting ill, they need treatment, insurance company pays, and people pay premiums. Makes sense, right? But what if the insurance industry moved from paying for curing physical and mental illness to preventing it. Or better, what if this industry decides to improve people’s wellbeing and vitality to a self-determined life?

Obviously, this comes with a few challenges. Spoiler; it is not just about technology and creating wellness apps. Rather it is about understanding the context, fulfilling new needs and facilitating new consumer behavior in a different way than your competitors.  This shift and opportunity was the topic already at the Swiss Life Network Partners Conference in 2019. And at this year's Conference, we will continue the Generation Z journey.

In this article we’ll share a bit of our research and strategies on how to seize the wellbeing and vitality trend from a consumer perspective.

What is happening?

Many countries on the globe are facing the challenges that come with an aging population. Same goes for insurance companies, who have an aging customer base. Questions like - how do we keep older people healthy and vital - arise. Not surprisingly, we have seen an explosion of e-health technologies helping people to stay vital, especially babyboomers. And what about the younger generations? Would they be willing to share their DNA data to have a personalized advice on how to live long and healthy?

Why it is not about technology?

Nowadays ‘smart’ technologies like the smartphones and wearables allow people to track everything they do in live. Sleeping, running, bicycling, meditating, fitness, dieting, mood-tracking, there is an app for that. Last month, I got a glimpse of the potential future when the people from successful company DNAfit impressed me with state of the art wellness technology. The app gives people personalized advice on to be their diet, nutrition, fitness and health based on their DNA. And last week, the Dutch Insurer ASR launched their exclusive collaboration with Vitality, offering their fit customers discounts on sports retailers and drugstores and a 8% cash back on disability insurance. These are just two success cases of two different companies that are tapping into the wellness trend. But the success of these apps cannot be claimed by technology alone.

Mass adoption does not just happen because technology is more advanced or better designed. It happens when technology serves as a tool to fulfill human needs. And these human needs are changing. We don’t use technology trends for growth, nor do we blindly follow a product trend like wellbeing apps, neither do blindly jump on the vitality band wagon. We use sociocultural trends. These trends will tell you why certain groups of people and why certain changes in society are happening. Right there, we can find the right insight and right decision on how to adapt to a trend to grow your business.


About the author

Aljan de Boer is Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive. The Dutch firm uses insights from sociocultural trend research to help organizations truly understand their customers on a human level. As trend consultants, they activate these trend insights to enable organizations to stay relevant and be ready for the future. Besides his job at TrendsActive, Aljan is a board member of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing.

Why Gen Z will drive the growth of wellbeing apps?

Research shows that Millennials and Generation Z are more in favor of sharing DNA in order to get personalized offerings. To be more specific, younger generations are 2 times more open for it than baby boomers and 1.5 times more than Generation X. Fun facts from Insites Consulting (2019).

But let’s be honest, we have all seen multiple researches stating that people like to trade data for personalized products. Most of it comes from consultancy firms who want to sell you data driven innovations. More interesting is to understand why? Why will Generation Z - the future generation - drive the adoption of wellness apps and techs.

One explanation would be that research shows that around 82% of the members of Generation Z feel determined to make the most out of life (Viacom, 2018). They believe happiness is a choice (72%), not a chance. However, many teens and young adults find it hard to make the right choice (Tapery, 2016). Another explanation is the fact that Gen Z has a desire to live a helthier and responsible lifestyle compared to older generations. They drink less alcohol and exercise more, compared to other generations (Snap Inc & Global Web Index, 2019).

At TrendsActive we use these facts and turn them into true insights and strategies. Actionable insights that is.

Actionable insights

Our researchers have been piling up research like above for years. By analyzing and synthesizing the facts from different researches, we’ve found that it all boils down to this; Gen Z has a make-it-happen mentality. And brands should facilitate Generation Z in making things happen that matter to them. Noteworthy, the word ‘facilitate’ is here.

This actionable insight allows many brands, from many industries to create meaningful innovations on how to do this. How would NIKE facilitate this, how would Unilever facilitate this, how would an insurance company facilitate this, and how would you? Same insight, one great strategy, different creative solutions. Hence, the power of using our trend model.

Using trends for growth

Now that margins are getting lower and competition is getting fiercer, insurance companies are exploring new growth avenues. One of it is wellness and vitality. The big question, provocatively pointed out by Swiss Life Network’s CEO Michael Hansen is this: “When is insurance becoming the add-on to wellness? Because today it is the opposite.” In other words, will DNA-fit, HeadSpace, Strava, NIKE or Unilever become the brands to improve people’s vitality and wellbeing, or insurers?

Using trends for growth creates winners and losers.  The losers will be those companies that just blindly follow a trend or copy what competitors are doing. Most companies that is. The winners will be those who understand the context in which these trends occur and in which their customers live. Truly understanding your future customer enables you to find your own original way of becoming meaningful and relevant for todays’ consumer.

*Sources: reach out to the author if you want more information.

Network wellbeing solutions

Learn more about Swiss Life Network wellbeing solutions.