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Humana to form new JV with South African health insurer Discovery

US based health insurer Humana is set to form a joint venture with Discovery Holdings, a South Africa-based health insurer, to offer Discovery's Vitality wellness and loyalty program and other well-being tools to its health plan members.

Discovery Vitality is an incentive-based health-enhancement program, serving over 1.9 million people globally.

Under terms of the transaction, Humana will capitalize a new joint venture entity, US-based HumanaVitality, in which Discovery Holdings will hold a 25% stake.

HumanaVitality will provide Humana members with the tools and support necessary to help them make healthy choices and achieve lifelong well-being through access to the Vitality wellness solution.

In addition, Humana will acquire a 25% stake in the business of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US subsidiary, which will continue to offer the Vitality wellness solution to US employers who may have chosen other insurance and or wellness company solutions.

HumanaVitality will open its headquarters offices in Chicago this month.

Humana’ Sean Slovenski has been appointed as chief operating officer of HumanaVitality. Slovenski most recently served as chief executive of Hummingbird Coaching Services, a health-coaching company based in Cincinnati that Humana acquired in 2010.

Humana chairman of the board and CEO Michael McCallister said that HumanaVitality will offer employers and individuals an integrated, comprehensive wellness solution. It unites Discovery’s wellness expertise and ability to integrate rewards with health, and Humana’s demonstrated innovation in consumer engagement that fosters positive behavior change.

Discovery Holdings CEO Adrian Gore said that the Discovery is very excited about the potential of strategic partnership with Humana. It combines Humana’s brand credibility and scale with Vitality’s intellectual property and proven track record in consumer-engaged wellness programs.

"There is a growing trend toward emphasis on cost-management through wellness and prevention and this presents a compelling opportunity for HumanaVitality in the US," Gore said.

The joint venture is subject to approval by the South African Reserve Bank.