Health insurer offering members free access to a health coach
Insurance provider Laya is hoping to give itself a competitive advantage by offering its members free access to a health coach.
The coach will design a personalised health programme for the members after a face-to-face consultation.
The nationwide offer is the first initiative of its kind by a health insurer, and is now expected to be copied by rivals Vhi and Irish Life Health.
Laya is the second largest operator in the market with 580,000 members.
It will offer the consultations at six new health coach clinics nationwide.
Health insurance expert Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie said the initiative was likely to be mainly taken up by younger members.
This would mean these people leading healthier lifestyles. This will result in fewer claims, and ease some of the pressure for price rises on premiums.
The face-to-face consultation with a qualified health coach will be offered every two years.
At the consultations, five non-diagnostic health assessments will be carried out.
These include blood pressure, glucose level, body composition, lung function and a fitness test. Using this personal health assessment, the qualified coaches will create a tailored health programme encompassing all aspects of a person’s health, from fitness and nutrition to mental wellbeing.
This is delivered to each individual member through a dedicated health coach app, which is available to download via the Apple Store and Google Play and can sync with Fitbit and Apple Watch wearables.
The app continuously monitors progress, and motivates members with new challenges and rewards from nationwide retailers including Lifestyle Sports, Eason and Deliveroo.
Laya has six dedicated health coach clinics located in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, with additional locations to be announced in 2018.
Chief executive of the insurer Dónal Clancy said Laya had spent a year planning and testing the new initiative.
“With Healthcoach, we want to empower our members to live and feel better, every day. It’s about giving them the tools to achieve long-term healthy change and hit their goals, whether that’s losing weight, getting fit, or reducing stress,” he said.
He added that the health-coach benefit has a strong focus on wellbeing, with personal action plans supported with expert content from clinical psychologists covering emotional wellbeing, stress and anxiety, among other topics.