From Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
Health and life insurance companies invest billions in the fast-food industry, according to a Harvard report. Researchers from Harvard University’s Cambridge Health Alliance analyzed health and life insurance companies’ holdings in the fast-food industry and found that insurers own $1.88 billion dollars worth of stocks in McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s/Arby’s, Yum! Brands (owner of KFC and Pizza Hut), and Burger King.
The authors offer the following possible explanations for the conflict of interest: profitability of investments outweighs other concerns, unawareness of social impact, or unawareness of individual divisions’ activities (investments vs. claims, for example).
The authors go on to suggest that the insurance companies should either remove their funds from the fast-food industry or leverage their ownership to force them to change their practices.
Source: Mohan AV, McCormick D, Woolhandler S, Himmelstein DU, Boyd JW. Life and health insurance industry investments in fast food. Am J Public Health. Published ahead of print April 15, 2010. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.178020.