Apparently it pays to be an Influencer these days. I think the old term for that was “blogger”, but then Influencer has a more self important ring to it. (“Yo, look at me! I write about stuff, and I influence others. Don’t play play!”)
We never considered ourselves any of those. Just a bunch of folks who write about Insurance at large, and diligently so. Every Thursday and Sunday, to be exact. After 2 years of that, I suppose people do pick up on it, and reach out every now and then.
AKA Asia was one of the communications agency that write to us on a regular basis, and we were pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to head down to cover an app launch by Manulife.
So yeah, we got an inside look at the unveiling of an app that took the better part of a year to develop and implement, backstage passes to interview key Manulife staff, and also our very own lanyard that was labelled “Media”. (Food and goodie bags too, in case you are wondering)
Media. Who? Us?
We just write about what we think is right. So while we donned the Media lanyard, we kept our writers hats on. To better understand the perspective of an insurance writer, read on.
Introducing Manulife MOVE – What in the world is it?
In their own words:
Manulife MOVE is a customer loyalty programme that rewards customers with premium cashback for being active and staying healthy.
In our own words:
A chance for policy holders to earn cashback, by maintaining an active lifestyle.
Of course just these short sentences do not do justice to the planning, the development, and implementation of (what I think to be) a high quality app. Maybe it would be better if I took you through the entire event.
Quite the launch
Manulife reportedly spent quite a bomb on this – and it showed in the (lavish) scale. Of course it might be considered small change after you sink in 1.2B in a regional deal with DBS, but I digress.
First off, the Emcees were Irene Ang and Mark Lee.
Their on-stage chemistry was fantastic and boy did they work the crowd ever so skillfully. Mark’s command of English (ahem, lack thereof) was played up to the hilt and their joke combos were felt natural and well-timed.
Then came the opening address by the deputy CEO of Manulife Singapore, Poh Huat. (huat ah! A name to die for)
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Manulife Singapore increased their market share in 3 years time by 10 fold. (They started with about 2% market share, and today it is 20%.)
They were also reporting stellar results in the Independent Financial Advisory, Bancassurance, and High Net Worth sales space.
As they say, when you are ahead, create an app. So they did. It was their Chief Customer Officer Li Choo that walked us through most of the details.
First there was the research done. Across 4 countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong.
They found out that Singaporeans in particular, were fond of exercising – but were not willing to give up good food for the sake of good health. (I could have told you that, just watch what happens when you try to take away my bowl of laksa.)
And that cash rebates as a reward for increased activity was the most preferable incentive. Finally, the key to having a successful rewards plan was simplicity.
There was a live demo of the app itself, and how it was designed to be as simple to use as possible.
In between, there were skits and mini-performances and even a chair zumba routine. To cap things off was a big finale with much pomp and fanfare.
How it works
Ok on to business. What are the mechanics?
- Buy a qualifying Manulife plan. You need to be a policy holder of their, subject to certain conditions (Will elaborate on that in the pros/cons analysis later)
- Download the app (duh!)
- Link it to your fitness wearable (fitbit, apple watch, etc)
- Clock an average of 10,000 steps daily. For every 6 months of 10,000 steps clocked daily (can be averaged out), you will get a premium cash back of $50. Annually, that works out to be $100.
A subtle point about measurement is: Once that is being tracked, it influences (or it should influence) the frequency of steps or activity. Kind of like how people behave differently when they know they are on camera. Having the app would then influence more activity (more steps taken in a day)
A simple way to generate desired behavior – and earn the rewards. Move more, get more.
There is a pretty high entry point. The qualifying plan needs to have a minimum annual premium of $3,000.
And personally, the premium cash back amount is relatively small compared to the minimum case size required. A person doing this would not likely be motivated by just the cashback alone.
A quiet moment of reflection
After the crowds have thinned and we are left to our own thoughts, we examine the broader perspectives of the app – and what it portends.
Why is Manulife doing this?
Why not? Insurers have been portrayed as sleepy on the best of days, so this is a great chance to show the industry that it can be revitalize and keep up with the times.
Is there business sense behind the app?
Not likely, if we are only concerned about dollars and cents. I wouldn’t jump to buy a hefty plan just because it offers a $100 cashback for my activity. But for the insurer, it is a chance to demonstrate that it is willing to engage their customers and also bathe itself in a hip, trendy light. You would be hard pressed to put a price tag on corporate image.
What would have made it better for me?
If I were a customer of Manulife, I would be willing to clear the hurdle of buying a fitness wearable. It looks like a solidly built app, even at the beta phase.
But to purchase a plan that amounts to $250 a month, I would think that perhaps a stretch. My policies range from hundreds to a little over a thousand dollars a year. So perhaps something to explore might be to lower that qualifying range to say, $1500.
What does the future look like?
More customer innovation, and a major rebranding of image for each insurer that is serious about staying in business for the long run. Everyone will be competing not only for attention and premiums, but also for mindshare. 5 – 10 years ago, I thought of Manulife as a sleepy Canadian company with dusty offices. Today it pulsates with a vibe that rivals a hip young company. (Think Apple or Snapchat)
All in, MOVE is a step in the right direction. (Pun not intended)
We would like to thank Manulife and also AKA Asia (their communications agency) for inviting us down for the launch. We wish them both great success in the coming year ahead.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.
P.S. Manulife is holding a MOVE Day carnival on 3 & 4 March at Tampines Hub and it is open to all. Engage in simple movements to play games and be rewarded!
Manulife MOVE Day
Date: 3-4 March 2018, Saturday and Sunday
Venue: Our Tampines Hub, 505 Tampines Avenue 5, (S) 529649
Time: 10am – 6pm