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Innovation in Insurance Case Study: Discovery Limited

Innovation in Insurance Case Study: Discovery Limited

How to stay on the pulse of the ever-changing trends in consumer behavior by implementing technologies into the own business model

The B2C insurance industry is undergoing significant change as it adapts to the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age we live in.

In our latest report, Plugged In: B2C Insurance in the Digital Age, we detail the current state of the industry, explore the forces shaping the future, examine examples of organizations that have already innovated their operations and value propositions, and analyze the implications these shifts hold for future innovation efforts.

In the course of our industry scanning to create this report, one insurer repeatedly emerged as a shining example of how insurers can build resilience in the face of uncertainty if they adopt an agile approach to innovation.

→ Free Download: Insurance Trend Report

Discovery Limited continues to proactively integrate the technologies available today into its business model and keeps its fingers on the pulse of ever-changing consumer behavioral trends.

Keep reading as we unpack the innovative strategies that lie at the secret of Discovery’s success.


Introducing Discovery

Founded in 1992 by current CEO Adrian Gore, Discovery Limited is a Johannesburg-based company operating in South Africa and the United Kingdom, with subsidiaries in Singapore, China, and the United States.

Discovery’s range of offerings includes health cover, life insurance, gap cover, investments, car, and home insurance, as well as a number of financial services under the auspices of its recently launched Discovery Bank.

Discovery's celebrated Vitality rewards program allows clients to earn discounts and various rewards by meeting behavioral goals that reduce risk, such as purchasing healthy food, meeting weekly activity goals, completing regular health assessments, driving well, and managing their money responsibly.

The more of Discovery’s ecosystem of Vitality-integrated products a client participates in, the more potential rewards, discounts, and cashbacks they unlock.

Discovery’s performance since its 1999 IPO.

The Vitality Program

Discovery’s Vitality program comprises three rewards programs, namely Vitality Health, Vitality Money, and Vitality Drive. These programs are a significant differentiator due to the breadth of Discovery’s partner network, which allows the company to offer customers considerable discounts at partner gyms; grocery stores; pharmacies; healthy fast food restaurants and coffee shops; book stores, cinemas, and streamlining platforms; as well as on activewear and fitness-tracking devices.

In addition to being an appealing value proposition for customers, the Vitality Rewards program serves the purpose of reducing risk by incentivizing desirable behaviors that help to reduce claims frequency.

Customers who participate in other parts of the Vitality ecosystem also benefit from investment boosts according to their rewards tier.

Source: Discovery Limited

For instance, a retirement annuity customer who has attained the Vitality Money Diamond tier and overall Gold Vitality status would receive a 7% boost on their investment, with the boost growing in accordance with the customer’s underlying investment. The boost – capped at 15% – is added to the investment at the customer’s selected retirement date after fees have been deducted.

This integrated rewards approach not only serves as a form of behavior shaping that reduces risk and promotes customer wellbeing – it also serves as a powerful incentive to sign up for additional Discovery products, drawing customers deeper and deeper into the Discovery ecosystem and creating profound brand stickiness and loyalty.

Vitality Health

Customers can earn Vitality Health points by completing health checks, living an active lifestyle, and eating healthy food. As the customer earns more points, they move into new rewards tiers from Blue to Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond.

Health Assessments:

By completing a Vitality Health Check, at a Vitality Wellness Center, participating pharmacy, Discovery Wellness Day event, or Discovery Store, customers can earn up to 28,000 points. These checks include checking blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol, as well as a weight assessment. 

Points are calculated according to the customer’s results and associated risk rating, encouraging customers to strive for better scores – and better health – in subsequent years. Customers can also earn additional points by signing a non-smoker’s declaration.

Source: Discovery Limited


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Customers can earn additional Vitality Health points by performing additional health screenings:

Source: Discovery Limited

Healthy Food

Customers can also earn up to 12,000 points per year and up to 75% cash-back for purchasing healthy foods at participating supermarkets. Again, the cash-back is calculated based on the customer’s level of engagement with other products in the ecosystem, such as Discovery Bank. 

Active Rewards

Vitality customers can earn points through a variety of fitness activities, and have from Saturday morning until the following Friday to complete their weekly goal.

Source: Discovery Limited

Point allocations are determined by the length and intensity of the workout, using fitness-tracking wearables to measure heart rate, steps taken, speed, and duration of exercise.
Customers can also earn points by completing workouts at partner gyms (or through their online workout platforms during COVID-19) and participating in fitness events like Parkrun, marathons, and active days hosted by Discovery.


Once they’ve achieved their weekly fitness goal, customers can choose a rewards tile from the gameboard on Rewards Wednesday. Each tile reveals a reward between 150 and 750 Discovery Miles, which can be redeemed for a reward like a coffee or smoothie, or be saved and used to purchase larger rewards like plane tickets and upgrades. If the customer has met all three Vitality goals (Health, Drive, and Money), they get to choose an additional tile. 

Source: Discovery Limited

Vitality MoveToGive

In 2015, Discovery launched its MoveToGive initiative, which gives customers the option to donate the Discovery Miles they have accrued to a charity of their choice instead of redeeming them for a coffee, smoothie, or popcorn. This gives customers the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world simply by getting active.

In 2019, the company revealed that more than R10 million has been donated through the MoveToGive initiative since its inception. 

Vitality Drive

The Vitality Drive rewards Discovery’s vehicle insurance customers for safe driving behavior, using advanced telematics technology to track driver behavior. Rewards include up to 50% cash back on fuel, up to 20% off on vehicle maintenance costs, and discounts on baby car seats, Uber rides, and Gautrain tickets. Points earned through Vitality Drive also contribute to customers’ overall Vitality points and investment boosts.

Vitality Money

Vitality Money is an offering by Discovery Bank, which hails itself as “the world’s first behavioral bank.” The purpose of Vitality Money is to help customers achieve financial literacy by rewarding risk-averse financial habits like living within one’s means, setting financial goals, building one’s savings, making long-term investments, purchasing insurance products, and other “healthy” behaviors.

Source: Discovery Limited

As customers improve their Vitality Money status, they unlock various benefits ranging from preferential interest rates on their credit cards to substantial investment boosts on their retirement annuity – if they have purchased this Discovery product. As is the case with all of Discovery’s products, increased participation in the product ecosystem leads to higher rewards, effectively locking customers in and keeping them coming back for more.

Discovery Bank customers also earn Discovery Miles on all their transactions.

Insurance Innovation for the Digital Age

Want to learn more about the trends at play in the B2C insurance industry and understand exactly why Discovery’s model is so innovative? 

Read our trend report, Plugged In: B2C Insurance in the Digital Age for an industry deep-dive that answers questions like:

  • How digital transformation is shaping the customer experience
  • How data management and privacy concerns will redefine brand-customer interactions
  • How flexibility will democratize and disrupt insurance models
  • How positive reinforcement and behavior shaping will transform the insurance industry
  • Why hyper-connected communities will be a key differentiator
  • How lifestyle ecosystems will drive new revenue streams

Free Download: Insurance in the Digital Age