(Image credit: John-Mark Smith/Unsplash.)
John Hancock (Boston), the U.S .division of Toronto-based Manulife, announced it is offering access to GRAIL’s (Menlo Park, Calif.) Galleri multi-cancer early detection test to a pilot group of existing customers through the John Hancock Vitality Program, in collaboration with reinsurer Munich Re Life US (New York). As the first life insurance carrier to make this screening technology available, John Hancock is enabling eligible customers to take proactive steps to better understand and make more informed choices about their health.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 600,000 people die from cancer each year in the United States and many cancers show no symptoms until later stages, when treatment options may be limited.(1) Early detection of cancer can improve cancer outcomes, yet today, many cancers are detected in late stages because only five types have recommended screenings: breast, cervical, colon, lung, and prostate cancers.
John Hancock Vitality is available with the company’s life insurance policies, offering education, support, incentives, and rewards to encourage customers to take everyday steps toward a longer, healthier, better life, according to a John Hancock statement. The company describes the Galleri test, the newest feature to be added to the program for eligible customers, as a first-of-its-kind multi-cancer early detection blood test. In a clinical study, the Galleri test demonstrated the ability to detect a signal from more than 50 types of cancers, over 45 of which lack recommended screening tests. The test can also help determine where in the body cancer may be located, which can then guide diagnostic follow up.
“At John Hancock, we are deeply invested in helping our customers live longer, healthier, better lives,” comments Brooks Tingle, President and CEO of John Hancock Insurance. “Almost everyone has experienced the devastating effects of cancer in some way, and by making this early screening technology available, we can help change the cancer narrative for some of our customers.”
“As a life insurer, we can use our unique position to make a powerful impact,” Tingle continues. “As such, we are bringing together carriers, distributors, reinsurers, and innovative technology companies to transform our customers’ experience while empowering them with knowledge about their health, ultimately improving lives.”
John Hancock stresses that individual test results will not be shared with the company and will have no impact on a customer’s current life insurance coverage or pricing, or status in the Vitality program. John Hancock has partnered with GRAIL’s exclusive reinsurance partner, Munich Re Life US, to bring this offering to life insurance customers for the first time, with support from Swiss Re (Zurich) and SCOR (Paris). John Hancock has also collaborated with M Financial Group (Portland, Ore.), an early partner of GRAIL.
“This collaboration amongst forward-thinking organizations, within the insurance industry, highlights the power of strategic industry partners rallying around an aligned mission to help fight cancer,” comments Bob Ragusa, CEO, GRAIL. “With this initiative by John Hancock to make Galleri available to eligible customers, as a complement to other cancer screenings, we can help change the status quo and continue in our goal to dramatically increase cancer detection from screening in the population to improve public health.”
Bridging the Gap from Research to Life Insurance
“Munich Re Life US has a responsibility to society to help advance early cancer detection and treatments that produce better outcomes for cancer patients,” comments Marc Giguere, President and CEO, Munich Re Life US. “With this partnership, we are helping to bridge the gap between medical research and advancements and their impact on life insurance by bringing innovative solutions to our carrier partners. Munich Re Life US is incredibly proud to embark on this journey with GRAIL and John Hancock.”
Through the pilot, John Hancock says it will assess customer adoption of Galleri, as well as the overall user experience, before deciding how best to offer the test in the future. The Galleri test does not replace recommended routine cancer screenings.