Discovery’s model of incentivising healthy living is making huge inroads in the US.

One of the US oldest insurers, John Hancock Financial, announced on Wednesday it would sell only interactive life insurance linked to Fitbit armbands that are provided by Vitality. This will provide a significant platform for Vitality as John Hancock has about 10-million customers.

Vitality is an incentive programme that rewards members for adopting a healthy lifestyle and being more active.

The move to completely discontinue underwriting traditional life insurance is a bold one that no other traditional insurer has undertaken. "The remarkable results of our Vitality offering convinced us this is the only path forward for the industry," said Brooks Tingle, head of John Hancock’s insurance unit.

"We have smart phones, smart cars and smart homes. It’s time for smart life insurance that meets the changing needs of consumers. We believe this is the future of our industry, and I encourage other insurance companies to follow suit."

John Hancock began offering Vitality to address what it termed a "troubling shift in Americans’ health".

The company said the results are compelling: Vitality policyholders take nearly twice as many steps as the average American and have logged more than 3-million healthy activities.

Vitality is well established in SA and the UK. It is becoming more widespread in the US and China since its launch in these markets in 2015.

John Hancock said it would begin converting existing life insurance policies to Vitality in 2019. The insurer will offer a basic Vitality package called Vitality GO to all customers with a life insurance policy at no additional cost and a paid-for version at $2 a month.