Celebrate your Effort! The Life Insurance Episode – Munjal Shah #459

How would you like to die 41% less? What if a quiz could help you get there? Munjal Shah, CEO of Health IQ is betting on you, and your health – by changing the conversation around Life Insurance.

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Celebrate your Effort! The Life Insurance Episode – Munjal Shah #459

Links/Resources for Munjal Shah

Health IQ

Show Notes


  • Munjal on the day his quest to get healthy started. “I worked 80 hours a week for 10 years and now I’m going to die? This is unfair.”
  • Munjal on taking control of his health “I ended up going on a significant journey on just exploring health and wellness, lost 40 pounds, and just really finally took control of my health after many, many, many years, 37 years of basically doing nothing.”
  • On Munjal’s saying, “Born again healthy.”
  • How Health IQ sets up its office to be health conscious. No Pizza!
  • On the office work out schedule. “The whole company is working out, the gym is actually the middle of the office, it’s not off to the side. It’s something we do four days a week, we do this half an hour workout time.”
  • On how Health IQ was developed backwards. “Forming the company at first with the five of us, we didn’t actually think what we were going to do was create an insurance company. In fact, we didn’t even have that as a plan.”
  • On celebrating the “heroes” in society! The health conscious! “What we did know was we wanted to create a way to celebrate really the health conscious. We believe there’s this 40 to 50 million people in the world, in America, who while that most of the country has gotten less healthy, these people have gotten more healthy.”
  • “We wanted to celebrate the health conscious and so we said is there a test out there that measures how health conscious you are, and we looked around and honestly didn’t find out. We wrote our own, we wrote 30,000 questions. We spent $5 million of venture money doing it. We found the 3,000 most correlated questions. One of the things we did at the end when we calibrate the questions was we asked how many times you’d go to the hospital in the last year because that’s something most people remember.”
  • It isn’t about self assessment. “We don’t say hey, how many times a week do you drink and how many times a week do you exercise, and then we’ll decide if you’re health conscious. In health, most people tend to not say the truth. I think it’s pretty primal. 4,000 years ago on the tribe, if you said you’re unhealthy, you got fed to the lions.”
  • How the Quiz weeds out the real experts. “We say, hey, an Olympic Barbell unweighted is how many pounds? If you lift, you know it’s 45. If you don’t, you’re like I don’t know.”
  • On figuring out people’s depth of knowledge on a topic. “You had to actively seek that depth.”
  • The difference between getting Health Insurance and Life Insurance after the Affordable Care Act. “The diabetic who drinks five cans of coke a day, and eats cake, and injects insulin is not the same as the diabetic who’s well controlled and manages the blood sugar really well, and so we couldn’t do that but when we found life insurance, we realized here’s a market and a set of regulations which actually allows for a meritocratic pricing for the health conscious.”
  • Munjal on putting together a company based on rewarding people. “Hey, the health conscious don’t die, any different than those who are not, and so sure enough. The data ended up showing that the health-conscious die 41% less than those who are not health conscious and it was statistically valid enough that it was a data we were able to use, and that was the foundation. The data foundation for the business.”
  •  Munjal on the many correlations they were able to make with their quiz. “We found that the people with lower healthy IQ ended up with greater number of hospitalizations.”
  • “Traditionally, they’ll move you down a class. If so, if you’re an endurance athlete, that has a low resting heart rate, they’ll move you down a class because they’ll say it’s too low, there must be something wrong with your heart, but actually it’s just because you work out a lot, and so with us. We try to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Munjal on how low resting heart rate could be a good thing!
  • Munjal on not dinging people for having certain family history criteria. “Because we said look a lot of health conscious people get health conscious not because they have a personal crisis like you and me had, Dave, but just because they had a crisis in their family.”
  • Is health the new luxury good? “We believe the health conscious are about 40 to 50 million people out of 300-ish million adults or 300 and some odd in America. It’s a growing segment. We think it’s actually a worldwide phenomenon. Health is the new luxury good that everybody wants. Even the Chinese in Beijing, you have your flat, you have your car, you have your Louis Vuitton handbag but what you don’t have is health.”
  • “The current life insurance industry is still on this one and done paradigm rather than a continuous reassessment. It’s a fixed rate mortgage rather than floating rate mortgage.”
  • Huge numbers on what the Health IQ  Quiz is showing. “We found people with high Health IQ correlate to a 19% lower rate of high blood pressure than those with low Health IQ. We found people with high Health IQ have a 31% lower rate of diabetes than those with lower Health IQ. People with high Health IQ have a 22% lower rate of arthritis. I can see those with high Health IQ smoke less.”
  • “A lot of people are in denial that their health could deteriorate, but the health conscious, ironically know that best. That’s why they don’t eat a donut every day. They understand the cause and effect. I call it they’re good at seeing the ghost of Christmas future. They understand the long-term implications of short-term actions, and they’re good at deferred gratification. “
  • Munjal on finding his mission. “I think Martin Luther King, the mission found him. I don’t think he found his mission. I don’t think Nelson Mandela found his mission. I think he was at the right place, and was open to that mission. That just emerge on his doorstep that maybe many other people didn’t take.”
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