South African court rules in favour of insurer Liberty in row with Discovery

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s High Court has dismissed a case from insurer Discovery against rival Liberty, who it had argued was infringing on their trademarks and competing unlawfully, Liberty said on Thursday.

Discovery launched its case last year over Liberty’s use of data from its Vitality programme, which offers users discounts on premiums and other rewards for good behaviour, such as buying healthy food and exercising.

Liberty has developed its own wellness programme that rewards customers for healthy behaviour, including by allowing them to contribute data from recognised external programmes, such as Vitality, to generate a score with Liberty. This then helps determine the price of the customer’s policy.

Liberty said the court concluded that customers’ data from Vitality belongs to them and they are free to use it how they wish.

“This judgement is a great victory for our customers as they can derive significant benefits from using their own wellness data,” Liberty executive David Jewell said in a statement.

Discovery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Vitality programme has helped make Discovery one of South Africa’s most popular insurers, and many rivals, including banks trying to push into insurance, have created similar offerings to try to compete.

(Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by Jason Neely)

This article was first published on Reuters Africa and is republished with its permission.

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