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Torture? It's all a matter of taste

While I am sure western music was hardly the worst thing inflicted on inmates of Guantanamo it is funny to reflect on what someone may, or may not, have considered tortuous.

It makes perfect sense! I’m not sure how Barney would feel about it though - he might suggest that they should be a little disappointed with themselves.
Here’s the story I read.  And here’s a list of artists/songs that they think were used.

Online and Direct models and the IFA

Do you cringe when you hear an advertisement for Pinnacle Life on the radio? Do you close your ears and eyes to news that internet sales of life insurance are finally taking off? Are you worried, in short, about the effect of 'execution only' businesses on your financial advisory model?

Take heart. Read this, and remember, these are clients that are deliberately avoiding seeking advice. They weren't going to come to you anyway - yet - but they may do in the future. Link.

Huh? "Fat family" has kids taken into care...

This article is like one of those ethics discussion studies, you can argue it in a number of different ways. Short precis:

A so-called 'fat family' is having their seven children taken into care because they are getting obese.

You can look at this a number of ways:

  • The state shouldn't care - individual choice is individual choice
  • The state should care about people that do not have the power to act for themselves, in this case, the children, early, constant, obesity could be likened by some to child abuse because of negative health impacts.
  • Or perhaps the grounds are otherwise - the state pays for their healthcare and has a choice - intervene now or pay up later with all the inevitable health problems. 

That last view is one which saw the story held up in the US as an example of an overly intrusive state healthcare system. You see, over there, the state cares less about your weight because if you put yourself in a position where you are overweight most of the additional health costs of that will be born by you - not your fellow tax payers. Except, that may all be about to change.

However, to underline just how complicated the whole debate is we could easily imagine an American version of the 'fat-family' held up as an example of the evils of private health insurance. Let's say the parent's are morbidly obese in this case, are declined health insurance and cannot afford treatment for complications such as obesity and heart disease. Their substantially shortened lives leaves the state with seven kids to look after. You can look at such a situation a number of ways...

No, I won't comment thank you very much

I am gradually learning to avoid saying things that piss people off too much on the blog. It's time consuming, you get threatening phone calls and emails, and sometimes it can even be expensive. So, no, I won't be commenting on this, thank you very much, even though it is a rare insurance-related story in the mainstream media. By the way, his blog is well worth a look.

Advisers, now is the time

This quote from Tim Williams at Chapman Tripp:

“The proposed fees are higher than expected and favour QFE participation. The fees proposed for adviser registration are higher than the $160 cost to register a company (including name reservation) - companies do not pay an annual return fee - and higher than the Companies Office charge for reviewing and registering a prospectus ($320). Reviewing a prospectus should require more Companies Office involvement than adviser registration."

Quite. There are some more comments from Chapman Tripp here.

If you don't like it, then you should make a submission. It's simple, and quick to do so, and if you don't know what to say then you could do no very great wrong by echoing Tim Williams comment above. You have until 13 November and the place to start your submission is here. Link. I reckon if you don't submit on the matter you forfeit your right to complain about it later, and you wouldn't want to do that, would you?

Greenery Issues

This link - "save the planet, time to eat dog" underlines, in a roundabout way, the importance of a price on carbon rather than cheap theatrics like "food miles" which actually have more to do with protectionism than any actual contribution to saving the planet from too much carbon. Strange though it may seem, sending food half way round the world by sea is very carbon efficient. Cooking it in a pot without a lid is very carbon inefficient. So the truly efficient application of "think globally, act locally" is to put the lid on the pot and stop worrying about where the food was grown.

Likewise with other actions. I drive a 3 litre v6 petrol car. I love it - apart from the fact iit breaks down all the time, and every part is handmade by some cheese-eating surrender monkey half a world away - and at vast expense. I get peeved every time I drive past the specially reserved 'green' carparks in the downtown car-park in Auckland. How do they know how green I am? You see, because I don't have a dog, and because I have my own compost heap, and because I have 900 sq metres of lush green forest on my section, and I am not overweight,I have probably got a much lower green footprint than half the Hybrid driving gits that get the 'green parks'.

However, I don't know, and I don't want to know - all I want is a price for carbon, and then I can let them make the choices they want, and I can make the choices I want, and between us we will optimise our carbon position and pay the right price for it. Then there will be no need for all this silly 'holier than thou' stuff.

Apparent Risk versus Actual Risk

A great post from Seth Godin - all part of the current cavalcade of risk which has lots of excellent risky posts. Link. To complete the roun-up of risk based news - why do the French keep killing themselves? Also, given our suicide rate is 13.2 per 100,000 - not a lot less than France, and higher than most in the OECD, why do Kiwis?

Life Advisers Need Guidance

Life Advisers need guidance at the moment. The voice that should be heard is that of life companies. Here is the problem.

If you are a seller of a broad range of investment products you know what you must do - get authorised. You need only wait, work on your adviser business statement, keep doing your Massey course, and keep plugging away.

If you are a seller of mainly fire and general insurance, you know that you will be a registered advisers - although some of your number may opt for authorisation this will be a choice that can be made almost at a time of your choosing.

The adviser whose main product is life insurance is still in the dark. Although the position of term life products has, in fact, been category 2 for some time we still hear confusion around the likely thresh-hold for a definition of financial planning. This confusion seems to stem from a lack of application to reading the legislation, and the subsequent comments in discussion papers from the Securities Commission.

While we do await the Code of Conduct, and the patch up Bill on QFE status, life companies have at hand enough information to start the communication process with their advisers. Where uncertainty remains it could reasonably be dealt with by a small number of "if...then" statements. Also, if anything truly awful comes out in the draft Bill or from the Code Committee (not that we are expecting anything awful) then companies can legitimately change their position.

I would encourage every life company to offer detailed counsel to advisers that are predominantly selling life insurance. We have a schedule of ten points that every company should be communicating on.