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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

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.