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AIA: Health, wealth and wellbeing – how’s yours?

The traditional, profit-at-any-cost model has generated great wealth for many companies and people, but that model is failing. According to the best business minds and a preponderance of evidence, the best companies are those invested in the wellbeing of society, AIA New Zealand's Head of Distribution and Marketing Darrin Franks reports.

Thursday, December 1st 2011, 9:00AM

by Darrin Franks

Rather than being disconnected from society, they see themselves as an intrinsic part of it, and their decisions about how to make money result in enduring organisations that foster and maintain awareness of the needs of people and society.

Recently we've been focusing on the deep but not so obvious connection between one's personal health and wellbeing and the health, wellbeing and wealth of the organisation. There is no doubt that the better we feel, the better our economic output, and the more wealth we can generate and enjoy.

But are we missing a bigger picture?

Most of us grew up with a traditional economic theory: that the sole purpose of business is to make as much money as possible. We've been given to understand that companies of all sizes are supposed to be money-making machines, and nothing more. Our own businesses have probably been built in this image, and some are still.

But it's this thinking that is getting business offside with society. You need only look at the Occupy Wall Street movement to draw that conclusion; a large cross-section of society is represented there, not just a bunch of hippie hangovers.

And if you have built your business in this traditional image, you can be forgiven for thinking that you did the right thing - after all, with wealth comes improved wellbeing and better health outcomes, right? Not so, according to Professor Kanter of Harvard Business School. In fact, she argues, great companies use a different operating logic.  Rather than being disconnected from society, they see themselves as an intrinsic part of it, and their decisions about how to make money result in enduring organisations that foster and maintain awareness of the needs of people and society.

All over the world during the past decade, business people ranging from social entrepreneurs to multinationals have been seeking ways to solve problems in the developing world. When it comes to insurance, we in New Zealand are the developing world, with an insurance take-up rate of only about half the average of the OECD nations.

This non-traditional economic thinking sounds like a perfect model for our industry. After all, our entire essence is founded on the needs of people and society, but in many ways we are stuck in the last century, which ended in corporate collapse, corruption, scandal and reputational trust issues, and the public voted with their feet.

Garnering people's trust is the driver of our industry regulators, but we all agree that regulation won't do it alone. Dr Gary Dennis spoke to a group of advisers recently about the power of stories and the passion with which we can connect to people and society. Is it an art we have lost in pursuit of building businesses wedded to traditional economic theory?

In an independent survey of more than 1,200 people commissioned by AIA, the lack of uptake of life risks insurance directly correlated to knowledge: ‘I don't understand, I don't have, therefore I don't rate or value'.

The Christmas season is a time for most of us to refresh our minds, challenge or check our habits, and rebuild our bodies for the new  year ahead. While you are doing this, don't forget the indisputable connection between these facets of our health and wellbeing and the wealth we get to share with people and society.

Best wishes this Christmas to you and yours from us all at AIA New Zealand.

« AIA: Reconsidering remunerationFinally, a better answer for life and health sales »

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Full Rates Table | Compare Rates

Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 2.55 2.69 2.79
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 3.39
ANZ Special - 2.55 2.69 2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 2.55 2.69 2.79
Bluestone 3.49 3.49 3.49 3.49
BNZ - Classic - 2.55 2.69 2.79
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 3.15 3.29 3.39
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
CFML Loans 4.95 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
Credit Union South 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 2.95 3.45 -
Heartland 3.95 2.89 2.97 3.39
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.85 3.95 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.45 2.60 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 3.69 ▼2.45 2.65 2.79
Kainga Ora 4.43 2.93 3.07 3.24
Kiwibank 3.40 3.30 3.54 3.54
Kiwibank - Offset 3.40 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.55 2.79 2.79
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.45 3.49 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Resimac 3.39 3.35 2.99 3.35
SBS Bank 4.54 3.05 3.19 3.25
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
SBS Bank Special - 2.55 2.69 2.75
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.55 2.69 2.79
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 3.05 3.19 3.29
TSB Bank 5.34 3.29 3.45 3.59
TSB Special 4.54 2.49 2.65 2.79
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
Westpac 4.59 3.15 3.29 3.39
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.55 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 3.00 3.13 3.02

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