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CEO of John Hancock Financial Services Marianne Harrison. Photo: Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

John Hancock, one of the largest North American life insurers, will only sell policies that include the tracking of fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones, the company said on Wednesday.

The details: The company's underwriting process will still exist, but all policies will include the wellness program, called Vitality. Policyholders will be rewarded with discounts on their premiums and gift cards to popular stores when they achieve goals in a points system.

Why it matters: "The John Hancock move is a rare sighting of advantageous selection in the insurance industry, which normally struggles with its opposite, adverse selection," writes Axios' Felix Salmon. "With advantageous selection, the kind of people who sign up for fitness-based interactive policies tend to be fitter and live longer, which are attributes life insurers love."

The details: Hancock's holders are not required to have wearable fitness technology or have a smartphone to be insured, the company said. Instead, users will only share data they want with the company — including their physical activity, nutrition habits, gym usage or doctor's appointments. Policyholders can track everything in an app to accumulate points.

Timing: Hancock will begin converting existing life insurance policies to Vitality in 2019.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.