September 21, 2023

If you let

Allstate Corp.

ALL 0.51%

track your driving, you can get a discount on car insurance. If you let John Hancock monitor your diet and exercise, you can get a discount on life insurance. Now, the two insurers are teaming up on the theory that safe drivers live longer.

The price will be letting the insurers monitor a lot of what you do.

Hancock, which is owned by

Manulife Financial Corp.

MFC 0.20%

, sells Vitality branded life-insurance policies that offer premium reductions of up to 25% for healthy-living habits like exercising, buying nutritious foods and getting mammograms.

Under Allstate’s Drivewise program, the insurer tracks motorists’ speeding, braking and other driving behaviors, either through smartphone applications or devices embedded in their vehicles. It also offers premium reductions of up to 25%.

Now, Vitality policyholders who achieve safe-driver status in the Drivewise program will earn points toward their premium discount at Hancock. The pairing makes sense, the two carriers said, because crash injuries are a leading cause of death for all age groups. The partnership doesn’t go the other way, meaning drivers who keep healthy habits won’t earn credit toward a discount at Allstate.

Brooks Tingle,

president and chief executive of John Hancock Insurance, said he was motivated to pursue an initiative with Allstate when motor-vehicle deaths rose in the first half of 2021, when many Americans returned to the roads.

“I noticed people were driving like fools,” Mr. Tingle said. “I thought, ‘This is nuts.’” Studies indicate that collisions are often caused by excessive speed, distracted driving or alcohol impairment.

Allstate says it uses its data to give feedback to customers so they can be better drivers.


Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg News

Allstate officials were interested. “As an industry we need to do a better job of engaging customers before the time of need, not just waiting until they are in a car accident,” said Allstate Financial Products President

Jess Merten.

“That’s the same thing Hancock is doing, not just waiting until there is a death claim.”

Allstate and Hancock each hope the other’s customers will be motivated to take out their policies. Mr. Tingle said the Vitality program has a six-figure number of participants, while Allstate has 1.75 million drivers enrolled in the Drivewise telematics program.

Both programs have a game element that lets good drivers or frequent exercisers win gift cards and other rewards. That has made policyholders engage more and have a bit of fun. “It would be hard to think of a product that consumers have less engagement with than life insurance, get less joy from ownership,” Mr. Tingle said of how it is ordinarily sold.


Would you be willing to share health information with your car-insurance company? Join the conversation below.

Some consumers don’t like these programs for privacy reasons. Allstate essentially knows where and when its users go places, while Hancock can learn what foods they buy, how often they exercise and how their weight-loss plans are going.

Allstate notes that it uses the data to give feedback to customers so they can be safer drivers. At Hancock, the level of detail provided to the insurer is up to the customer. Mr. Tingle said many people are fine with sharing because, “as any one who has gone through the process of buying life insurance knows, the insurer already knows virtually everything about your medical and financial history” from the application process.

The companies say they don’t sell customers’ personal information.

Whether Hancock’s seven-year-old effort to encourage better health translates into longer-living—and thus more profitable—policyholders could take four or five years of additional data, Mr. Tingle said. Telematics programs have been around for about two decades and have proved to be a good way to set auto premiums, insurers say.

Write to Leslie Scism at [email protected]

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