Opinion  

Life’s what you make it

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That’s what we’d all hope. Recent figures from Public Health England show that life expectancy for the over 65s is at an all-time high. On average, men can now expect to live for a further 19 years at age 65, 12 years at 75, six years at 85 and three at age 95. While women can expect to live for a further 21 years at 65, 13 years at 75, seven years at 85 and three at 95. But while we’re living longer, what is also true is that many people are living for longer in poor health.

As well as delivering the good news on our longevity, the figures were released to remind people that even during mid-life, it is not too late to improve our health, stating “most of us could make changes today, like stopping smoking, being more active or eating better, that would allow us to look forward to healthier later years.” Something that is close to our hearts at Vitality.

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While many people view the prime time to have protection as being while they have young children depending on them and debts to manage, such as a mortgage, the market for cover in later life has been steadily growing.

The whole of life market primarily exists to cover funeral expenses, mitigate IHT bills or to leave a sum of money to family. The most recent figures from Swiss Re show the market is growing considerably, with non-linked whole of life policies up 13.8 per cent and unit-linked plans up by 9.5 per cent on the previous year. The sums assured are also increasing across the board.

With the population living longer, the whole of life market becomes ever more important to grow. Life cover can be an essential element of later life financial planning, that term cover will be unable to deliver, given most policies stop covering people when they hit their 80s.

With VitalityLife, people can also couple the benefits of whole of life cover with the opportunity to improve their health in later life. By adding Vitality Optimiser to a whole of life plan people get access to all the health benefits available with our term plans.

We incentivise people to be healthy, by offering discounted gym membership and running shoes, which enables them to earn points for healthy behaviour, which then count towards premium discounts and cashback each year.

Other rewards include a weekly Starbucks coffee, weekly cinema ticket and discounts on British Airways flights and Mr & Mrs Smith hotels, which can all add up to a happier more active and enjoyable lifestyle.

Vitality helps change buying whole of life cover from something people put in a drawer and forget about, to something that actively helps them live a longer healthier life, giving them real value from the policy every day. If we all made an effort in later life to engage more with healthy activities and behaviour, we could be sure that the next set of life expectancy stats would make very interesting reading indeed.