Lisa Blackburn, Colonial’s Wellness Coordinator in Bermuda and Cammie Simmons, a Colonial wellness champion, show the Virgin Pulse Max device. *Photo supplied
Lisa Blackburn, Colonial’s Wellness Coordinator in Bermuda and Cammie Simmons, a Colonial wellness champion, show the Virgin Pulse Max device. *Photo supplied
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One of the Island’s leading insurance firms has joined forces with one of the world’s most recognizable brands to launch a new programme to get Bermuda fit.

The Colonial Group has signed an exclusive deal with Virgin Pulse, a member of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, to bring a get fit scheme to the Island.

“Virgin Pulse is pleased to partner with The Colonial Group,” said Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse.

He added: “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.”

Naz Farrow, Colonial’s Chief Operating Officer for health, said: “There is a great strain on the health care system in Bermuda with costs spiraling. We have to get to grips with our health issues in Bermuda or face the consequences of higher premiums, which will hurt everyone.

“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.”

She added: “It is a fact that the fitter people are, the lower the health care costs, the rate of sickness falls, there are fewer safety incidents and a much higher level of productivity.

“Virgin Pulse is a company that likes to have fun, and this is a fun initiative that we think people will love.”

Virgin Pulse, www.virginpulse.com, already works with 200 clients representing more than one million employees.

The programme works through an on-line health portal, which helps to keep administration costs down and which centralizes information making it easily available to participants. Virgin Pulse has also integrated the latest technology from social, gaming, devices and mobile apps.

When a person signs up, they will get access to fun, social programmes aimed at improving not just physical health, but all aspects of life. Employers get instant access to data on participation, behaviours and risk factors delivered through real-time analytics.

Rather like some social media platforms, they will also be able to interact with other people to support a friend on the programme, or create active groups like a tennis group, add supporters and friends and encourage colleagues.

There are two editions under the Virgin Pulse programme, Ultimate for Colonial clients with Corporate Wellness Benefit in their medical plan, or Express for Colonial clients who have major medical coverage.

With the Express edition, participants will be able to: access to a secure, personalized online portal where they can monitor their health and track their progress; use compatible wearable fitness devices and apps including the Virgin Pulse Max™, Fitbit, Polar, and RunKeeper to track their activity; participate in fun, engaging challenges throughout the year; self-enter their key biometrics like weight and blood pressure; earn badges and virtual rewards for their accomplishments and reaching key milestones; and participate in an online social community where they can make friends, join groups, share ideas, get peer-to-peer support; and more.  

With the Ultimate edition, participants will get all the same great features as Express, plus: a Virgin Pulse Max™ included with their membership; quarterly Colonial-sponsored challenges in which they can earn points and great rewards; incentives for engaging in healthy behaviour and reaching key milestones in the programme (participating Colonial clients will administer their own internal rewards programme); integrated biometric s tracking, including biometric testing by Colonial’s in-house staff and nurses; and more.

Jacqueline Perreault, Colonial’s Corporate Wellness Director, who is responsible for the wellness strategy in all of Colonial’s jurisdictions, said they had looked at more than 20 social wellness platforms and that Virgin Pulse was the most “exciting, engaging and results-oriented”.  

“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,” said Miss Perreault.

She added: “Companies are trying to save money and Bermuda has a population with a high 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 health care.”