‘Welcome to Sun Life insurance. Thank you for considering us for your life and health insurance needs. Your health is important to us’ Would you like fries with that?’
According to a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health, U.S., Canadian and European insurance companies have invested nearly $2 billion in five leading fast food companies. Two major Canadian insurance companies’Sun Life and Manulife’were named in the report.
While both Sun Life and Manulife offer life, health, disability and long-term care insurance, the study’s findings would suggest that the health of the Canadian public is second to the insurance giants’ bottom lines.
“Our data illustrate the extent to which the insurance industry seeks to turn a profit above all else,’ said Dr. Wesley Boyd, senior author of the study, in a release. ‘Safeguarding people’s health and well-being take a back seat to making money.”
According to the study, Sun Life owns almost $27 million of stock in Yum! Brands (which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), while Manulife owns $146.1 million in fast food stock, including $89.1 million stake in McDonald’s.
"If insurers are to play a greater part in the health care delivery system, they ought to be held to a higher standard of corporate responsibility," concluded study author Dr. Arun Mohan, along with his co-authors. "This responsibility includes aligning all of their resources’including ﬁnancial investments’in ways that improve health or, at the very least, do not harm it."
What do you think? Would this revelation make you consider switching insurance companies? Should it be up to insurance companies to reform the fast food industry to make it healthier, or is it the public’s responsibility to stay away from fast food companies and make them less attractive investments?