In December Paul Brownsey, of Pathfinder Asset Management, writing at Stuff, asked "Is your KiwiSaver making an impact?" The question is elaborated upon by drawing a link between spending decisions we make all the time and whether or not your KiwiSaver manager is supporting those goals:
"In our daily lives, many of us are conscious consumers. We make active choices about where we spend our money, and increasingly we are making choices based on ethical considerations."
Brownsey believes that your KiwiSaver should be supporting the values you may exercise when you make other spending decisions. Should your insurance do likewise? While most insurers are very conservative managers they may retain impact, through corporate bonds for example, and through information and incentives. Insurers may have little leverage through investments, but what about other incentives? How much should insurers take a stand to try and improve the lives of the people that they insure? Here in New Zealand we have some great contributions to make to wellbeing - and some areas where we fall far short. Some of those problems are quite diffuse - the costs seem distant and too difficult for people to appreciate. But insurers understand how choices that seem without consequence can affect risk substantially.
Whatever the method, the question of whether the substantial monthly expenditure on insurance is supporting consumer values or not is bound to come up again and again as consumer's wealth and level of education continues to rise.