Your healthy behaviour tracked on wearable fitness devices may help in reducing insurance premiums. This is one of the many baits that homegrown health device manufacturer GOQii wants to throw at Indians to make them fall in love with the idea of being “fit and healthy”.
While the Indian market has seen the entry of global brands like Fitbit, Jawbone, Apple Watch and others, GOQii’s founder and CEO Vishal Gondal told News18.com that his firm plans to up its game by introducing multiple features, including digital health metaverse, gamification, and health score-linked insurance premiums.
With health and fitness trackers no longer a buzzword in the sector, the early entrant into the industry – which boasts of user data of over 60 lakh Indians – now sees itself primarily as a “data company” capable of throwing multiple health trends across India.
The company announced its foray into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market in December, last year, which is its third market after India and the UK, to establish its presence.
Gondal, the former head of gaming and digital operations of Walt Disney India, told News18.com that “preventive healthcare is the future of healthcare.” So GOQii started as a device maker, but eventually evolved and now calls itself a smart preventive healthcare company.
The average age of users on GOQii is around 35 years – a slightly mature audience who gradually understand the importance of good health.
Gondal says there are two types of people – those who make excuses all day and those who get up at 6 am to exercise and eat healthy. His priority is to assist the former ones who need motivation.
“I’m not saying we are here to assist India’s 1.3 billion people but those who can’t find time to watch their own health,” he said.
The company has also noticed that following the Covid-19 pandemic, people have become more aware and concerned about health issues.
“People now have access to health-related data. Previously, people had no idea about their oxygen or sugar levels, and now, everyone could see their heartbeat on multiple apps on smartphones and wristbands,” he said while adding that it is possible to indulge them in good health practices.
Health scores to lower insurance premiums
The company has started using generated data to conduct insurance underwriting. “We now offer our customers what we call outcome-based insurance. Because you are assisting and have demonstrated healthy behaviour, it will translate into lower insurance premiums,” Gondal said.
The company is working with banks such as Kotak Mahindra and Bajaj Finance to link healthy behaviour with insurance premiums.
“This programme connects your health directly to the insurance programme and contributes to the future of healthcare. It is customised…as the credit industry now has scores, which has resulted in more people getting affordable loans and so on, similarly, we believe that health data will become a key contributor in creating a health score. Finally, the data is used for insurance underwriting,” Gondal said while explaining further that “here, basically, the insurance company will tell you that your risk is lower than the average risk. So I am willing to either give you more coverage or lower the premium for the same product.”
Meeting health goals to fetch reward points
“Good health takes time but we have made the entire process more enjoyable,” Gondal claimed.
On GOQii’s app – which collects all the information on vital data points – the users are being rewarded for showcasing good behaviour.
“You can earn points for all of your healthy behaviour. One of the most difficult aspects of life is that everything bad gives you instant gratification, such as the moment you smoke a cigarette, eat a burger, or eat french fries, you feel good,” he said.
However, cutting down on junk food, meeting exercise and walk targets, and maintaining weight goals will reward users, said Gondal.
“We keep records in what we call the cache, and you can earn points for all of your healthy behaviour,” he said while adding that “these points can then be used to purchase health products, proteins, snacks, and supplements (from the application). We can motivate the user by providing him/her with customised and personalised advice based on his/her health goals, in collaboration with coaches, doctors, and health experts.”
Creating healthcare metaverse
The company has introduced a digital health metaverse that further enables real-world health and fitness to merge with the digital universe.
“The idea is that we will create your digital twin on the metaverse, and your digital twin will be linked to your health data. As a result, as you get healthier, your twin age decreases in the metaverse. The rule is to live a healthy lifestyle in order to keep yourself and the world healthy,” said the founder.
The company has already announced a trial in Dubai. “As a result, the UAE will be the first location where we will pilot our healthcare metaverse,” he said.
Mi, OnePlus, Fastrack, Noise, Huawei, Sonata, and Oppo, among others are now available in the Indian market.
When asked about the cluttered market space, Gondal said that “we never considered ourselves a hardware company. We are not trying to compete with Apple on the device. It was just simply an enabler for us. And our focus is on providing the healthcare platform and ecosystems. In fact, you can connect to your Apple device, Android device, or Fitbit because this platform is an open platform that allows other devices to connect to our system. As a result, our primary goal is not to convince you to buy our device. Indeed, in many markets, including the United Kingdom, where we currently reside, you can purchase the subscription without purchasing any hardware and then connecting your own devices.”
Gondal says that the company, indeed, enjoys an early-mover advantage. Launched in 2014, it has already started reaping the benefits of data analysis while many other companies have just started rolling out the data-collection process.
“We’ve made the transition from data to the outcome. Other apps have only recently begun to use data; they will collect it and analyse the results. People are attempting to imitate our model, they are still imitating our version one, whereas we have progressed to version four,” he said.
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