Health and fitness high flyer Virgin lands in Bermuda
The sky’s the limit for health after a Bermuda insurance company signed up with part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire to deliver an online programme to get Island residents fit.
The Colonial Group has teamed up with Virgin Pulse to bring a healthy living scheme to Bermuda in to help keep the costs of healthcare down and reduce the number of people suffering from preventable diseases.
Colonial chief operating officer for health Naz Farrow said: “There is a great strain on the healthcare system in Bermuda with costs spiralling.
“We have to get to grips with our health issues in Bermuda or face the consequences of higher premiums, which will hit everyone.”
Ms Farrow added: “We think this is the best wellness programme we have seen and we hope our partnership with Virgin Pulse will have positive results for everyone involved.
“It is a fact that the fitter people are, the lower the healthcare costs, the rate of sickness falls, there are fewer safety incidents and a much higher level of productivity.”
The Virgin Pulse programme uses an online health portal, which keeps costs down and centralises information to make it easy to access and also uses the latest technology, like mobile apps and social media.
When a user signs up, they get to use programmes with tips on healthy and leading a better lifestyle, while employers get data on participation, staff behaviour and risk factors through sophisticated analytical techniques.
Users can also interact with other people to create a support network and groups focusing on particular activities.
Ms Farrow said: “Virgin Pulse is a company that likes to have fun and this is a fun initiative that we think people will love.”
Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Boyce added: “Virgin Pulse is pleased to partner with the Colonial Group. Through this partnership, we’re excited to help improve the health and wellness of the Island’s people, help them to be more engaged and productive, both on the job and off, and ultimately change their lives for good.”
The Colonial scheme features two different editions of the Virgin Pulse programme — Ultimate, for Colonial customers with its corporate wellness benefit and Express, for clients with major medical coverage.
The Express edition offers a secure, personalised, online portal where they can monitor their health, track progress and use compatible wearable fitness devices and apps, including Virgin Pulse Max and RunKeeper, to track their activity.
Users can also enter key statistics like weight and blood pressure and earn badges and virtual awards.
The Ultimate addition gets Virgin Pulse Max included with membership, as well as quarterly Colonial-sponsored challenges to earn points and rewards, special incentives for healthy activity and reaching key milestones and integrated vital signs tracking, including testing by Colonial’s own staff and nurses.
Colonial’s corporate wellness director Jacqueline Perreault said the firm had looked at 20 health programmes before opting for Virgin Pulse, which is already used by 200 clients with a total workforce of more than one million.
She added: “Clients are demanding a return on investment from their wellness programme. Virgin Pulse has been able to demonstrate not only phenomenal participation rates, they are able to demonstrate outcome-based results.
“Companies are trying to save money and Bermuda has a population with a nigh incidence of heart disease and diabetes. I really think that this programme has the potential to make an impact on the health of people on the Island and the cost of healthcare.”