A study in the American Journal of Public Health is garnering the attention of the press: It’s come out that many large insurance providers like Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, and Massachusetts Mutual are actually investors in fast food chains like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
Although this has generated some controversy, supporters argue that these companies have a duty to their shareholders to generate the highest possible returns on their portfolios in order to keep premiums low.
Whether or not it’s amoral for insurance companies to invest in an industry that harms the health of its own consumers, it’s important to take a step back and think about what these insurance companies actually provide. You’ve probably know at least something about health insurance and life insurance, but what exactly is disability insurance?
Disability Insurance Replaces Your Income If You Can't Work.
If you were to be unable to go to work because you were seriously injured, health insurance might cover some of your medical bills…but it wouldn't do anything to replace the income that you'd lose every day you couldn't work. Disability insurance provides income if you can no longer work because of a disabling injury or illness. If you can work, but only part time—or if you can only work at a jobs that doesn't pay what you used to earn—disability insurance can also bridge the gap.
Disabilities Don't Happen Only to the Elderly.
A scary fact: If you're under age 35, you have a one in three chance of becoming disabled for at least six months during the course of your career, according to a Gallup survey. Think about would happen if you had a car accident and were unable to work for six months. Where would your income come from?
It Covers Long-Term Care.
Disability insurance also pays your long-term care expenses if you end up needing home care, therapy, or care in an assisted living facility. Your health insurance will likely pay for the immediate medical expenses, but it would stop paying after a while since most health polices make no provision for long-term care.
More than anything, disability insurance buys you time to make wise decisions. You wouldn’t have to leap into a terrible job to make up for lost income, and you could carefully evaluate your options. Although many critics view these insurance companies as acting amorally through their fast food investments, disability insurance is a potentially valuable product that can pull you out from a very serious bind.
Just do us a favor and stay away from fast food.
Let us know: Do you think it’s amoral for insurance companies to invest in the fast food industry?