Discovery eyes US expansion

Adrian Gore

Discovery, South Africa’s biggest health insurance provider, is in talks with US peers to bring its flagship wellness program known as Vitality to their market.

While Discovery has long had a relationship with John Hancock Life Insurance to offer Vitality to its customers in the US, it’s now looking to deepen its foothold in the lucrative market, CEO Adrian Gore said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Vitality offers discounts to people who keep fit and choose healthy food options in a bid to lower insurance claims. 

“We’re offering it to certain US health plans, and we think that has potential,” Gore said. “We’ve led the space, we’ve created it in a way. I’m pretty confident we can penetrate in the US.”

Annual US health-care spending will reach nearly $7.2 trillion in 2031, growing faster than the country’s economy through the start of the next decade, according to government estimates last year.

Already, America spends more on health care relative to the size of its economy than any other developed country.

A 59-year-old former actuary, Gore started Discovery in 1992, and the company initially focused on private health insurance.

The company has since expanded into banking and asset management, forming partnerships with companies across Europe, the US, China, Singapore, and Australia. 

Those deals have given Discovery access to data on millions more customers for its Vitality program. The company uses that data to model the impact of behaviour change on healthcare costs and health and reward good behaviour. 


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