Willis Partners with NBC's "The Biggest Loser League" to Launch
New Health and Wellness Program, 'Winning With Willis'
Program Includes Broadest Incentives Ever to Encourage Exercise and Weight Loss
New York, NY, October 29, 2008 – The Employee Benefits Practice of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker, today announced the launch of an innovative, incentive-driven consumer health and wellness program called “Winning with Willis” that seeks to help companies lower healthcare costs by encouraging employees to lead healthier lifestyles. Willis is making the program available to some nine million employees at the more than 30,000 U.S. companies for which it arranges employee benefits.
To promote its new program, Willis is partnering with NBC.com’s “Biggest Loser League” (www.biggestloserleague.com), a social-networking site that allows teams and individuals to compete to see who can lose the most weight. The site gives participants in the “Winning With Willis” program the opportunity to lose weight and get in shape with friends.
“We are excited to be partnering with NBC to promote ‘The Biggest Loser League’ and our new ‘Winning with Willis’ program. We share a common goal: to help Americans lead healthier lives,” said Michael Barton, leader of the Willis Employee Benefits Practice. “Nearly 80 percent of medical claims today are the result of long-term lifestyle choices. That’s why companies want to encourage diet and exercise among their employees as a way to better manage ever-escalating healthcare costs, workers compensation losses and absenteeism. We can help them do that with our innovative program to support employee health and wellness. And the power of ‘The Biggest Loser’ brand gives us the instant recognition we need to make this program a tremendous success.”
The heart of the “Winning with Willis” program is an innovative feature called “Willis Rewards” – the richest incentives ever offered to encourage exercise and weight loss, among other healthy behaviors, such as participating in health-related education. The web-based rewards program gives employees exclusive savings on their favorite brands and services from more than 2,000 top retailers and manufacturers. Once enrolled, employees are able to track points earned for healthy behavior or achieving other milestones as determined by their employer, and redeem the points for discounts of 15%-40% off all types of merchandise and services – from clothing and electronics to entertainment and travel. Companies pay a nominal annual fee to have each employee enrolled in the program, and employees are eligible for even deeper discounts – including coupons for up to half off select items – when they upgrade on their own to a premium membership.
“Our research shows that employees want and need real incentives to be health and wellness achievers,” said Barton. “Not just T-shirts and paperweights, but plenty of choice and great discounts on the brands they know and love. The Willis Rewards program goes far beyond the typical incentive plans offered to employees in the past by giving them exactly what they want in an easy, convenient and secure online shopping environment. For our clients, the program provides a great motivational and retention tool that not only encourages healthy lifestyles and saves on healthcare costs, but can be used for other incentives as well. We develop a customized program for each client company, while removing the administrative burden typical of other health and wellness programs. It’s a win-win for companies and their employees – both in terms of savings and in leading healthier lives.”
The “Willing With Willis” program website (www.winningwithwillis.com) features personal fitness and diet plans from Jillian Michaels, the renowned personal trainer who stars on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” show. The show, which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT, premiered on September 16. The web site also features a “Virtual Health Fair,” which provides up-to-date medical information, gym discounts and a full range of health-support programs through reputable health web sites and merchants.
Barton said Willis decided to develop this far-reaching business-to-consumer program because of likely changes in the way healthcare benefits will be delivered in the future. “Right now, most workers depend on their employers to provide subsidized benefits, because companies can buy group insurance less expensively than employees can buy insurance on their own. However, we think that model will change in the future, and insurers will begin selling coverage directly to the consumer – that is, the employee. Willis wants to be ahead of that curve, and build a strong reputation as a leading health benefits brand with consumers,” Barton said.
For more information on the “Winning with Willis” and “Willis Rewards” programs, visit www.winningwithwillis.com.
Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 20,000 Associates serving clients in some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.
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