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Life Insurers Invest in Fast Food

Posted on June 10, 2010

Insurance companies that offer health care coverage have been given a larger presence in the American health care scene now that all Americans will need to be covered by private health insurance. One would assume that insurance would also be invested in health in general. That assumption would be false.

Harvard researchers found that giant health and life insurers hold nearly $2 billion in fast-food stocks. Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, KFC and Taco Bell are favored holdings by the industry because of the returns they pay.

It is no mystery that consuming a lot of fast-food can lead to health problems – obesity, cardiovascular disease, and poor health of children. Ironically, the new health care bill will require fast-food establishments about 200,000 of them, to post their calorie counts on their menus.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, a new article says that insurance company holding from the U.S., Canada and Europe amount to at least $1.88 billion.

Among the largest owners are Prudential Financial, Northwestern Mutual and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance and European-based ING, reports Public Citizen.

  • Northwestern Mutual owns $422 million in fast-food stock, including McDonald’s
  • Mass Mutual owns $366.5 million including McDonald’s
  • NG has $406 million in fast-food holdings including Jack in the Box, McDonald’s and Yum! Brands which owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC.

“Our data illustrate the extent to which the insurance industry seeks to turn a profit above all else,” says Dr. Wesley Boyd, senior author. “Safeguarding people’s health and well-being take a back seat to making money.”

If you think it through, promoting fast-food will eventually led to more health care payouts, so perhaps big insurance should put its money in health instead of fast-food for the fast-buck.