Discovery South African insurer launches wellness programme in Japan

Japan's aging population is grappling with the rising costs of healthcare as the Asian country struggles with the worst public debt among advanced countries

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A man walks past the Discovery  headquarters in Sandton play A man walks past the Discovery headquarters in Sandton, February 24, 2016. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
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South African insurer Discovery Limited said on Thursday it will launch in Japan its behaviour tracking programme, which rewards health and life insurance clients for healthy lifestyle choices and helps track their fitness.

Discovery gave no financial details about the deal which sees it team up with life insurer Sumitomo Life Insurance Co and telecommunications and internet company SoftBank Group Corp.

"The Japanese insurance market faces rising medical costs and the government is eager for initiatives that will alleviate this burden," Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore said.

Japan's aging population is grappling with the rising costs of healthcare as the Asian country struggles with the worst public debt among advanced countries due partly to rising expenditure on medical care.

Discovery is active in 11 countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and China.

Its shares rose to a more than 2-month high of 127.39 rand on Thursday but later pared gains inline with most stocks on the index closing up 1.56 percent at 125.93 rand.

"The market does like these expansion stories. It dilutes some of that South Africa performance into another area in the world and diversifies that income stream ," said Global Trader head of trading Nilan Morar.

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