UK health insurer Vitality under fire for app sync failures in Apple Watch promotion [u]

in Apple Watch edited January 2017
An offer from UK insurer Vitality that provided a discounted Apple Watch to customers if certain levels of activity are maintained for two years has drawn complaints, as app synchronization issues are apparently causing unwarranted extra charges.

Under the Vitality promotion, members of the insurer could acquire an Apple Watch Series 2 for ?69 ($86.50) upfront, with the rest to be paid off over two years. Customers stood to pay ?12.50 ($15.70) per month, but could get this reduced downwards depending on the amount of activity the Apple Watch detected during the month itself.

To avoid the charge completely, members had to earn at least 160 Vitality activity points per month via the Vitality Member app for iOS, based on monitoring by the Apple Watch. Missing the target meant users would have to pay a fee on a sliding scale, with the cost rising the fewer points the customer accrued in the period.

The BBC reports some customers found their points totals were not correct, as the app was not consistently synchronizing data with the insurer's servers. In some cases, affected customers have sent screenshots of activity data to Vitality's customer services as proof for manual updates.

The app, which offers other services to members as well as facilitating the Apple Watch data collection, has been poorly reviewed in the App Store, with 667 ratings giving an average of two stars. Last updated yesterday, the release notes for the latest version advises to users they need to open the app to allow the data to be sent to the company's servers, with the app also receiving a number of "bug fixes and performance enhancements."

Vitality advised to the BBC that a small number of customers were affected, with some synchronizing their devices incorrectly, but that the Apple Watch itself is not to blame.

Update: "We are currently experiencing record numbers of members tracking their health and getting Vitality points for activity, with the Apple Watch benefit proving to be a very popular addition to the Vitality programme. A very small number of customers experienced an issue with a recent version of the Vitality app, which has since been fixed," Vitality Commercial Director Nick Read told AppleInsider. "Those members who were affected are being advised to send us screenshots of their activity so we can add their Vitality points to their account and ensure they receive the discount they've earned."

The Apple Watch's ability to monitor the wearer's activities and vital signs have made an impact in the healthcare industry, with major companies using the device to promote a healthy lifestyle. Weight Watchers is offering a monthly service plan for the Apple Watch Series 2, which can be used with the company's various online tools.

Health insurer Aetna has also offered the Apple Watch, with its workforce receiving the wearable device for free or at a discount. The insurer is developing apps for Apple products to help its clients, including reminders to take medicines and ordering refills, reviewing insurance benefits, and bill payments.


  • Reply 1 of 1
    Nope. Recent update did nothing for me. Doesn't even give you the 10 points for connecting to Apple Health. The Withings app is able to read and write data regarding Apple Health, but absolutely no data is coming into the Vitality app at all. If I have to keep sending Vitality screenshots, then something is wrong. I strongly advise Vitality to contact Apple because clearly something isn't right with the way their application is interacting with Apple Health.
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