Health IQ launches behavioral life insurance for diabetics

Bambi Francisco Roizen · November 15, 2018 · Short URL:

A high Health IQ score and an active healthy lifestyle could lower premiums


For many people who hit 40-years-old, it's about time to think of life insurance. At that time, you might have a growing family and life insurance is a way of providing security for your progeny, if anything terrible happens to you.

Unfortunately, for those who suffer from a disease, rates may not be so affordable. 

For a condition such as diabetes, however, you may be eligible for more attractive rates based on how well you manage your Type 2 diabetes. In some cases, those who manage their lifestyle well can reverse Type 2 Diabetes and if using some programs, such as Virta Health, can be off medications in 70 days.

Still, life insurance providers don't really take this information into account, according to Health IQ, which just revealed a new insurance plan just for diabetics. Health IQ is a new insurance startup that creates special and discounted life insurance plans for active people, like runners, triathletes and cyclists, to name a few. Now they're bringing the same idea to active people with conditions.

"If you look at term insurance, there's been absolutely no innovation," said Munjal Shah, Founder and CEO of HealthIQ. "Nobody focused on giving well-managed diabetics a special rate because insurers always worried that well-managed diabetics today wouldn’t be well-managed in the future."

So how does Health IQ know that a person will be well-managed in the future to take on the risks others in the past didn't want to?

This is all part of Health IQ's proprietary evaluation of people. "A lot of traditional insurance companies ran on a premise of current health status.' But now we have good data that shows we can predict future health better for  some," said Munjal. "There's a difference between going on a diet and making a lifestyle change. People try out diets and they go off them. But for those who make lifestyle commitments, they tend to keep doing healthy activities, and that can be tracked and measured by a high Health IQ score," said Munjal, adding that a high score suggests or verifies that a person has a track record of committing to a healthy lifestyle.

[Editor's note: Munjal joins us at HP and Vator's event - "Vitality: Lifestyle as a drug" on Dec. 13 at HP headquarters in Palo Alto, Ca.) 

Health IQ refers to a report by Rawshani, et al in the New England Journal of Medicine studying risk factors in Type 2 Diabetics. It showed that the risk mortality of an unmanaged diabetic rose three-fold while the risk of a person who managed their diabetes increased by only 15 percent.

Essentially, the risk of this person being unhealthy down the road is as low as someone who doesn't have Type 2 Diabetes, said Munjal. So why shouldn't they get similar rates?

In order to get these rates, consumers can go to HealthIQ and submit information. The offer is designed for Type 2 diabetics who score Elite on the Health IQ Diabetic Quiz, and who can also demonstrate they lead a healthy lifestyle.   

The insurance is then provided by Protective Life, owned by Japanese firm Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company. Health IQ is the MGA, or Managing General Agent, that sells the policy and verifies, but Protective underwrites the policy.

The policy consumers can receive could be substantially lower than a traditional policy.

How many diabetics?

The launch comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 30 million US adults live with diabetes and 84 million are pre-diabetic. Of the 30 million who have diabetes, Munjal estimates a third will be well-managed diabetics, and of those, 75 percent will have an active lifestyle.

As an MGA, Health IQ receives a broker fee for each person who enrolls in these life insurance plans.

One question is why Protective Life would want to give reduced rates if they're already selling life insurance to diabetics? It's simple. Companies like HealthIQ are showing that there's enough data being stored and accumulated that shows that people with medical conditions who make the right lifestyle choices are not as risky as they once were perceived.

"There’s two cards of health," said Munjal. "There's the cards you're dealt with and then how you play those cards. Behavioral insurance says there's a behavioral aspect to conditions and how people play the cards they're dealt."

In other words, don't just buy life insurance, start considering behavioral life insurance - the kind of insurance that takes into account how much you take care of yourself.   

Image Description

Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

All author posts

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Invent Health" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs


Munjal Shah

Joined Vator on

CEO & Co-founder at Health IQ