Healthy and responsible products and services

In line with Discovery's purpose, our products are designed to deliver value and to encourage people to engage in behaviours that promote better health, safer driving and financial wellbeing.

Non-communicable diseases hurt economic productivity. The World Health Organization estimates that for every 10% increase in NCD mortality, economic growth is reduced by 0.5%

Actively turning the tide on NCDs

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases, diabetes and certain cancers continue to place an increasing burden on healthcare systems across the world. The cause of these 'lifestyle' diseases includes behaviours such as inactivity, smoking, substance abuse, being inactive or being overweight - although genetic, environmental and even psychological factors also play a role. Rapidly increasing rates of NCDs not only drive up costs and overload healthcare systems, but also negatively impact economic productivity.

The case for active measures to reduce the onset and impact of NCDs is clear. In our 2017 Sustainable Development Report, Discovery committed to "reducing the impact of lifestyle diseases on our clients by focusing on active prevention and self-management."

Based on a unique combination of clinical research, behavioural economics and actuarial expertise, the Vitality health-promotion programme encourages and rewards people for living well. Engaging with Vitality helps people to significantly reduce their risk of developing preventable diseases by changing their lifestyle.

To turn the tide on NCDs, Vitality continues to reward physical activity first and foremost. The benefits of physical movement are significant in disease prevention, and prioritising an active lifestyle is central to Vitality's strategy to make people healthier.. As a result, the number of average exercise days for each Vitality member has gone up 81% since the inception of Active Rewards. Monitoring and managing alcohol consumption and regular health screenings are also important pillars of the Vitality model.

Taking on the NCD challenge Eating better and moving more in 2018


Adults who were physically active

R6.62 million

Total Discovery Rewards paid out


Lower heathcare costs for engaged members

20 years

Engaged members on Vitality are expected to live longer

We want to involve as many South Africans as possible in turning the tide against noncommunicable diseases, and our Vitality programme's emphasis on moving more and eating healthily is part of that journey.

We ran the Vitality ObeCity Index in late 2017 to raise national awareness around the health risks associated with obesity. The Index highlighted the improved health outcomes associated with an active lifestyle, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, and a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). All stakeholders are responsible for tackling the obesity epidemic. The Index highlighted that by raising awareness earlier, working with food companies and industry, and implementing laws and taxes that make healthy behaviours easier, a joint effort can help to reverse the trends.

To grow and extend the reach of Vitality, Discovery also launched Vitality Active as a lower-cost option for younger members between the ages of 18 and 30. For a small fee, they can participate in Vitality Active Rewards and earn rewards for achieving fitness and driving-related goals using the Discovery app. Discovery also launched Vitality Move in September 2017, which is free for all members of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, even those who have not joined Vitality (and are not paying the monthly premium).

Vitality Move aims to include more people, growing the number of South Africans who are moving more and enjoying the rewards of a healthier lifestyle.

Another major health risk is the rise in the prevalence of diabetes and its long-term impact on a patient's health. Our DiabetesCare programme, developed by Discovery Health and made available to members of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, helps individuals suffering from diabetes and their physician to actively manage their condition against certain identified health metrics. This programme has seen excellent progress since inception and the overall cost of care has declined for patients enrolled in DiabetesCare.

Increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare

In our 2017 report, we declared Discovery Health's goal to "increase access to quality, cost-effective healthcare for medical scheme members and potential members. We continue to explore ways to deepen and broaden access to healthcare coverage, taking into account the challenge of affordability faced by many South Africans. Discovery Health, as administrator of 18 medical schemes in South Africa, manages the administration of KeyCare Plans. These plans give medical scheme members access to quality private healthcare at contributions based on monthly income. At June 2018 there were 430 771 KeyCare members, down slightly from 433 417 in June 2017.

Discovery Health engages with various networks and enters into payment agreements with providers to offer medical scheme members access to affordable, high-quality healthcare services. Go to the ‘Healthy and Productive Workforces' section of this report for more information and data on how Discovery PrimaryCare is working with employers to increase the number of people with access to healthcare.

Technology is also helping us to improve access to quality care. Using DoctorConnect, a digital platform available through the Discovery app or website, participating medical scheme members can either search a growing library of over five billion doctor-created answers to common medical questions or conduct a virtual consultation with a doctor in the network using voice, text or video. Patient and doctor confidence in this innovative engagement platform is growing.

DoctorConnect connected more people to quality healthcare in 2018:

329 543

Patients enrolled

1 610

Virtual consultations, live or by email

Another service aimed at adding value and improving quality of healthcare is the patient survey score (PaSS). This rates the quality of care received by participating Medical Scheme members at hospitals. The scores are available on the Discovery website, identifying healthcare providers who are delivering exceptional care and rewarding them with positive recognition. By incentivising further improvement on the part of hospitals, better care can be enjoyed by all patients using a particular hospital, not only by members of medical schemes that Discovery Health administers. This service was launched in 2016 and Discovery is adding additional metrics as part of continuous improvement. PaSS had over 77 962 cumulative views since it was launched in 2015.

Creating a nation of better drivers

The higher a client's Vitality Drive status, the lower their average car accident claim amount

Discovery's ongoing commitment to "reduce harm on our roads through improved driving behaviour" consciously informs the development of our Insure products. This links to Sustainable Development Goal 3's target to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.

Discovery Insure's SafeDrive partnership with car rental company Avis was developed over the past financial year. Available to Avis car rental customers, the SafeDrive app uses Discovery Insure's Driver Quotient (DQ) telematics technology and its behavioural app-based solutions to improve driver behaviour and make South African roads safer. The partnership has plans to expand its efforts across South Africa and to enter the international market.

Discovery Insure's driver-behaviour solutions encourage safer and more cautious driving among our own clients. Better drivers mean fewer accidents and more safe journeys for our clients and others on South Africa's roads. We've found that the higher the driver's Vitality Drive status, the lower their average car accident claim amount. Discovery Insure drivers have 60% fewer road fatalities than the general South African drivers, as seen in this graph of fatalities per 100 000 motor vehicles:

Discovery Insure drivers have 60% lower road fatalities than South African drivers

We've also found that the higher the driver's Vitality Drive status, the lower their average car accident claim amount.

Relative average car accident claim amount by Vitalitydrive status

For example, if an Insure driver with a high Vitality Drive status, such as Gold and Diamond, is involved in a car crash and their likely claim is R100, our data indicates that a driver with Blue status on average would incur an amount of R77 more than a driver with Gold or Diamond status. This demonstrates that the higher their Vitalitydrive status, the lower the risk and cost of an accident. By avoiding speeding, harsh acceleration and cornering, and being more aware while driving (no phone use and observing a safe following distance), the frequency and seriousness of accident claims are reduced for those on a higher Vitalitydrive status. These amounts are only for illustrative purposes, and do not represent the true claim costs of drivers in these categories.

Discovery Insure's Safe Travel to School programme, implemented together with the Discovery Fund and our partner Childsafe, under the Healthy Communities section of the report.

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Saving sooner, saving more and increasing access to higher education

Our innovative products from Discovery Life and Discovery Invest are making people healthier, and extending protection and security to their families at the same time.

Putting away that extra money every month takes discipline. By offering rewards that encourage clients to start saving earlier, to save more, and to draw less from their retirement savings, our products offer greater peace of mind about future milestones such as a child's education and having adequate funds in retirement.

The South African Savings Institute has drawn attention to figures confirming that by July 2018, the personal savings rate was 0.4%. These worrying saving patterns mean South Africans are spending more than they earn, and so are dipping into existing savings or borrowing to pay for purchases. This situation does not contribute to financial security and prosperity.

The 50|20|30 rule...

Suggests that individuals or households allocate post-tax income:

50% living costs

30% spend

20% savings


In our 2017 report, Discovery committed to facilitate investments that will help our clients achieve peace of mind in retirement.

The better a client's saving behaviour and the higher their Vitality status (indicating improved health), the more benefits they enjoy through their investment. In support of the goal to help give our clients greater financial prosperity now and in retirement, our financial products encourage clients to start saving earlier and start saving more and drawing down more responsibly in retirement. The Smart Benefit gives young professionals under the age of 30 ease of access to investing with lower minimum contributions to encourage saving, and extra ‘boosts' to their final retirement savings through Smart Boosts, based on their positive financial behaviour and healthy lifestyle choices. Remaining invested for longer, saving on a continuous basis, withdrawing savings responsibly and drawing less at retirement all contribute to greater financial prosperity, and reduce future dependence on family or the state. Discovery Invest gives clients a ‘boost' on retirement savings based on their engagement with Vitality and how far away they are from the standard retirement age of 65. Clients under 30, receive a larger boost the earlier they start saving.

Discovery Invest has seen significant behavioural change in clients since introducing products that reward them for making sound financial and health decisions. On average, clients are investing two years earlier, improving their Vitality status and in turn their health, and reducing their yearly retirement income drawdown rates by more than 2%.

The impact of this positive behaviour change is substantial, resulting in clients receiving approximately 50% more in their fund value in retirement.

Discovery Invest is the pioneer of shared value investing

Discovery Life has shifted the focus of life insurance to reward clients for living a healthy lifestyle, rather than just paying out in the case of a life-changing event.

Clients also get significant value by integrating their Life Plan with other Discovery products. In Discovery Life, the steps clients take to improve their fitness, manage their health and improve their driving behaviour, give them premium discounts and greater savings.

Discovery Life's Global Education Protector, for example, ensures that children's education is fully protected in the event of the death or severe illness of a loved one. This product also allows clients to convert their Vitality rewards, earned by managing their health through an active lifestyle, into funding up to 100% of their children's tertiary tuition fees.

This way, Discovery Life makes access to higher education possible, even if there is a life-changing event for a family. This benefits the child, the family, and society as a whole. The Global Education Protector was recognised as the most disruptive Life Insurance product in 2018 by the EFMA-Accenture Global Innovation in Insurance Committee.

Investing early in children's health with the help of digital innovations and Disney.

Expanding shared value into the banking sector with Discovery Bank

The launch of a brand new business is always exciting. The arrival of Discovery Bank was announced during the forthcoming financial year, and its official launch is keenly awaited. Discovery Bank intends to extend and expand our shared value philosophy into the banking sector. We will report on the Bank's new and innovative services and products, and their contribution to a healthier society, in our 2019 report.

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