Insurer Discovery is accusing a rival of using its incentive programme without permission, authorisation Liberty Holdings says it doesn’t need.
Vitality offers its 1.9 million customers discounts and cash back on Discovery’s life insurance and credit cards for exercising and buying healthy food. In May, Liberty launched its Wellness Bonus, which cuts premiums for clients who are part of a programme like Vitality or Momentum’s Multiply.
Discovery is asking the high court in Johannesburg to block Liberty from using Vitality, alleging that the competitor is making unlawful use of its intellectual property, said Discovery Life CEO Hylton Kallner.
Liberty denies any infringements, accusing Discovery in its court filings of attempting to stifle competition using “scare tactics”.
Liberty identified Vitality and Multiply for reference purposes only, said David Jewell, Liberty’s managing executive of retail solutions. Liberty’s clients are within their rights to “use their health status on wellness programmes, to which they pay fees, to reduce their life insurance premiums”.
While Momentum has no intention of pursuing legal action against Liberty, it is monitoring the situation, the Pretoria-based company said in an e-mail.
“If you’re a Vitality diamond or gold member, put it on your CV, put it on LinkedIn and put it on Tinder,” said Discovery Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender. “It’s called status. That doesn’t mean we have granted a competitor the right to market a product off the back of our work and innovation.” — Reported by Roxanne Henderson, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP