Promoting health for better client outcomes



Promoting health for better client outcomes | Insurance Business New Zealand















Insurance advisers have the potential to play a wider role

Promoting health for better client outcomes

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By Katrina Shanks

In my article last month, I discussed how evolving consumer expectations are driving industry transformation, resulting from a shift from risk management to risk prevention. This theme is echoed by multiple insurance providers, who focus on the role that our living environment plays in our health.

It’s an intriguing topic, as we often neglect the importance of creating a healthy environment for ourselves and future generations, and we underestimate the power of simple behavior changes on an individual and societal level.

The healthier lives we lead, the less likely we are to experience health-related issues, translating into lower risks for insurers and better outcomes for individuals. And with this in mind, I’d like to share some thoughts.

Encouraging healthy behaviors

As reported by a recent AIA report, international data shows time and again that almost two-thirds of global annual deaths are due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are not caused by acute infections but rather by unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking , poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

In short, environmental risk factors (such as air pollution, processed foods, and urbanization) often result in unhealthy behaviors, leading to respiratory diseases, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and poor mental health. Can insurers and insurance advisers help break this cycle?

I believe so. As studies and surveys keep confirming that financial and personal wellbeing are closely linked, quality advice can play a crucial part in wellness journeys. Insurance solutions can increasingly assist in managing the financial and personal impact of these diseases, while also promoting prevention through incentives for healthy behaviors and providing handy resources, including access to wellness programs. Plus, insurance advisers can collaborate with clients to identify their specific health concerns, and recommend solutions that address and even help prevent those issues.

Taking a stance for sustainability

According to the United Nations, over 12 million deaths (a quarter of all annual deaths) are environmentally related. Environmental factors include air, water, and soil pollution; chemical exposures; ultraviolet radiation; and climate change, which proves that there’s a two-way correlation between human health and environmental health. Our behavior impacts the environment, which in turn affects our well-being.

It’s clear that individual and collective actions can help mitigate climate change challenges. And there may be an opportunity for advisers to contribute to these solutions. Although advisers are certainly not responsible for teaching clients about sustainability, they can implement simple actions to empower Kiwi families to make informed decisions, like adopting a sustainable business stance.

An idea could be to team up with local businesses that prioritize environmental stewardship, and demonstrate how supporting these businesses can have a positive impact on the community. This approach allows clients to discover new products or services, while contributing to a sustainable local economy – all the things that the younger generations are increasingly passionate about.

Quality advice fosters better behaviors

Considering how insurance advisers can positively influence people’s wellbeing, I’m reminded of Financial Advice NZ’s 2021 research, “Better Behaviors”. In this study, we highlighted the transformative power of quality advice in helping change their financial behavior, ultimately leading to improved financial lives and overall wellbeing.

If you remember, the research aimed to understand the extent to which advised Kiwis to demonstrate better financial behaviors than their non-advised peers. The evidence was clear. Regardless of the type of financial adviser they consulted, advised Kiwis were more likely to:

  • have a documented budget and financial plan
  • regularly review their financial products
  • understand the relationship between risks and returns
  • protect their financial future

By the very nature of their profession, insurance advisers establish relationships with their clients who are rooted in trust. And this foundation enables them to extend their influence beyond the traditional realms of financial advice – potentially impacting their clients’ lives in more lateral ways.

Once again, one such example is encouraging healthy behaviors that can lead to a better quality of life, both physically and mentally. These include regular physical activity, effective stress management, and a balanced diet, all of which help reduce the risk of NCDs. By pointing clients towards practices and insurance solutions that support healthier lifestyle choices, advisers not only contribute to their clients’ financial wellbeing. They can also foster the overall health and wellbeing of communities and the environment.

In your corner

Financial Advice NZ was founded with a single-minded purpose: to help New Zealanders, and New Zealanders as a whole, be financially better off. If you’d like to learn more about our initiatives, we welcome you to visit financialadvice.nz.

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