Mayers: IFAs have role to play as ‘wellness advisers’

Financial advisers could take an interest in their clients’ health, the chief executive of Vitality Life, Herschel Mayers, has said.

Speaking at the launch of Vitality Life and Vitality Health, the companies created following the complete purchase of PruProtect and PruHealth by South African company Discovery, Mr Mayers said that in South Africa, advisers have taken an active involvement in their clients’ health.

“I think the current broker environment is more a transactional-based one and that’s the end of the relationship,” he said.

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“We have moved to trying to get the broker to have a relationship with the client. You could even start calling them a wellness adviser. From our experience it is more rewarding and an added-value relationship on behalf of the IFA.”

In South Africa, some advisers have been holding wellness days where their clients have come into the office and had their blood pressure tested.

Discovery completed the purchase of PruProtect and PruHealth on 14 November and has rebranded both.

Coinciding with this, Discovery launched three products. One was a life insurance product called LifestyleCare Cover, which gives lifelong cover that pays out on death or if the customer suffers an illness making them incapable of looking after themselves.

An accelerated benefit will be paid out on earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia.

The company also launched a short-term income protection option, which will pay out for up to 24 months on each claim, and a mortgage protection product called Mortgage Plus Plan, with life cover and mortgage incapacity cover.

Adrian Gore, chief executive of Discovery, said: “We have been resolute to buy the company. We built the organisation on a very simple proposition: making people healthier. It is at the core of what we have done.

“People are ageing, and not only are they ageing, but they are also living longer, and they are living sicker and that is problematic. It makes insuring on a sustainable basis difficult.”

He said Vitality’s aim is to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles and “build the best protection business in the UK”.

Vitality offers health and life insurance which rewards its customers for being healthy by offering a range of benefits – such as free cinema tickets, discounts on British Airways flights and lower premiums – to those who are able to improve their lifestyles.

Adviser view

Nick Evans, founder of Hertfordshire-based One Life Wealth, said: “I think it is highly unlikely financial advisers will start checking blood pressure.

“I think Vitality is trying to carve itself a niche in the market because it wants to move away from price comparison.

“However, I applaud what it is doing in terms of trying to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle.”