About

About

Recent Awards and Recognition

 

Our first priority is and will always be to help our clients protect and provide for who and what's important in their lives. We see awards as recognition of the support and service we get to provide to our clients.

You’ve come a long way — don’t risk what you cannot afford to lose

Today's families come in infinite varieties, and we celebrate all of them.

Getting married, sending a child off to university, building up a small business, investing in property, becoming an entrepreneur, giving back to the community, leaving a legacy for people you love — these are only a few of the many dreams we aspire to.

Whether your dreams are simple or ambitious, we understand that everyone has them

We also understand that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families face diverse challenges when it comes to protecting and achieving their financial dreams.

If you or your partner have been diagnosed with HIV or diabetes or if like us, you simply believe in supporting your freedom to choose, we'd love to be part of your strategy for protecting what’s important to you.

The company behind the people behind the scenes

We believe that good businesses can help good people achieve good things.

The heart behind unUsual Risks Insured is our parent company, Sapience Financial & Investment Services. Sapience is a boutique full financial services practice who are a Certified B Corporation and are committed to using purpose-driven business as a force for good.

In 2016 they celebrated 18 years of helping people through understanding, respect and strategic financial advice Australia wide.

Our Claims Management Service

We personally manage all our client's claims.

No client or their family should ever be left alone to navigate the complex world of paperwork and legal minefields, that an insurance claim will bring. Our insurance claims management service, Priority 1 ensures that nothing is left to chance.

"We saw the pain and frustration that people experienced with fragmented and irrelevant advice and how they often felt abandoned to their own devices during a drawn out insurance claims process.  They needed an advocate - so we decided to be the change in the community that we wanted to see". - Drew Browne, Sapience Financial.

No-Surprises No-BS* Guarantee

What we do is all about You.

We value and protect the trust of our clients so much, that we have a No-Surprises No BS* policy for our product providers.

  • We understand the effect of every question you might be asked in a typical insurance application.
  • We know when certain information might trigger an additional questionnaire or follow up question.
  • We want you to always feel in control of your personal information.
  • Our client's privacy, respect and information security is of our utmost importance.
  • You choose the level of contact you have with an insurance company.
  • Our Concierge Application Service means you can have as much involvement with the insurer as you want, or you can have us take care of everything for you.
  • We understand that our clients are usually super busy and people who require a greater level of privacy.
  • If additional information is required for an application, you get to choose who contacts you when and how.

If you'd like some additional information about our people visit our Directors LinkedIn profile.

*And yes we went there.

Our reach and connections - your advantage

When you've celebrated 18+ years in the Australian Financial Services market, have been awarded and recognised as a key person of influence to the industry, you get to meet the right people.

We continually look to develop better ways to help our clients, friends and supporters navigate through the complex system that is life insurance.

Whether that's through organising preferential treatment for speedier telephone interviews, expediting claims or simply cutting through red tape by continually advocating for our clients best interests; our experience proves connections matter.

An important issue that the average consumer never gets to know about

( If you like the detail this next section is for you; otherwise, feel free to skip this paragraph)

Did you know that financial advisers are only allowed to make recommendations for their clients from an approved list of product suppliers?  The bigger the list the wider the range of available suppliers, the more work is required to keep up with changes (and the more expensive the professional indemnity insurance premiums become for the adviser's business).

That's one of the main reasons why most advisors only work from a restricted products list. Advisers who are employed by a bank or industry super fund are equally restricted to only selling their own brand of products (but we're sure their marketing department would try and disagree).

  • The financial advisers behind unusualrisks.com.au have an unrestricted product list so our client can be confident they have access to every solution on the market without restriction.

Why is this important to understand? You want the best don't you?

Watch our Consumer Insights video by our senior adviser Drew Browne explaining the importance of having a financial adviser who has access to an open approved product list, and the ramifications of being stuck with an adviser who is restricted to a limited approved product list.

An interesting and unashamedly controversial look at one of the untalked about realities in financial advice - the key to knowing if your adviser is really able to give you the best financial advice.

If you'd like to know more about how to benefit from our connections and expertise, we'd love to chat with you.

Have you had a chance to browse through our Frequently Asked Questions?

Leadership comes in many forms

Ms Patricia Kennedy OAM is the Patron of unUsual Risks Insured Australia

In June 2003 she was formally recognised by the Australian Government and awarded the OAM for her tireless and persistent services to the community as an advocate for people with HIV/AIDS, particularly through the provision of support services.

She and other award recipients are listed on the Australian Government’s Official Award Database.

  • In January 2014 Patricia graciously accepted our request to become our Patron and Brand Ambassador.

Every story has a beginning

In the 1980’s the world was just waking up to the reality of how unprepared we all were for the condition that was to become known as HIV. The 80’s and 90’s saw an explosion of fear and discrimination around HIV, that sadly still scars many people today.

Discrimination and stigma around HIV continues today

In many ways, the discrimination surrounding this, now chronic yet manageable medical condition, continues today, to unfairly isolate people from friends, family and even important services. Such barriers can even be found in the professional services community. And frankly, this is unacceptable.

The connection

Mrs Patricia Kennedy is part of our back-story. Today she continues to inspire us to stand up and play our part in working against the effects of discrimination and ignorance by ensuring that all Australian’s with a pre-existing medical condition, have equal access to life insurance, free of these barriers.

Her story in her words

In the 1980’s, Patricia became part of a Sydney city based team of volunteers providing in-house care for those dying of AIDS. She immediately insisted on providing care for those who lived in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, where in her words, “there was nothing for people in similar circumstances to those in the city”.

"This was well before there was even a hint of the medical breakthroughs to come that today, have transformed a positive HIV diagnosis, from a death sentence, into a manageable lifelong medical condition."

The biggest handicap

When it came to services for HIV-positive people and their families, in the beginning, there was nothing—and the biggest handicap was people's prejudice.

"I believe that we all need to educate ourselves about HIV and learn how to be non-judgemental—because everybody is different. Ignorance is usually where discrimination starts."

"If someone believes a person has HIV, they usually make two quick assumptions; how they got it and what their lifestyle is. If it’s a male it must be someone who’s gay, if they’re married they must have had a boyfriend, if they’re a female, she’s either been using drugs or she’s been playing around."

"But none of us truly know what happens in the lives of people and all of our assumptions could be totally wrong. And does it matter anyway?"

"I think it’s sad that some people have to live a lie around people who they should be able to trust. How bad are we as a broader community- that we’re going to judge our friends when something is not acceptable to us? And half of the time it’s through our ignorance."

Setting the record straight

When asked about the public recognition for her services to the HIV Community, she is quick to set the record straight.

The Real Heroes

"The real heroes were those young guys who were sick themselves and who turned up and helped care for those who were dying. When I was doing in-home care, volunteers would usually be young men aged from 19 to around 30 yrs old who also had the virus and were aware their own time was limited yet spent that time to help care for someone who was ‘this poor skeletal person’, who was slowly dying a terrible death. In many cases these volunteers became the ones we were caring for, these were the true heroes."

"Today it’s important for people to understand, that a lot of the laws that were changed, a lot of the new disability support services that were started, were due to the efforts of a lot of other young men with the virus who spent their time taking on the politics of it all and they contributed so much knowing that they weren't going to be around to get the benefit from what they were achieving for others."

"They also were heroes' – these young men were what influenced me more than anything. There were just so many of them and it’s a shame because you can’t remember all their names, but you remember just so much about them."

"Over time those who survived have had the benefit of the new medical breakthrough treatments which came along and they responded well and get on with their lives. Their contribution is not forgotten."

"Now to me, they were heroes - they were never acknowledged, they were taken for granted. They could have just as well stayed at home, they could have taken the attitude that ‘I might not have much life left so while I’m feeling OK, I’m going to do something else’. But they gave up their remaining time to serve others, and they’re the one who should never be forgotten."

In July 2014, unUsual Risks began filming a mini-documentary, The Story of Patricia', that follows her story and her service to the community.

The fascinating audio interview of that recording has now been made into a compelling 4 part radio show and you can listen to it on Soundcloud .

We believe in our clients

We believe that equal access to life insurance is a human right. We believe in the importance of giving people diagnosed with HIV or diabetes a fair go so we built a specialty pre-assessment service for them, their friends and supporters 

We celebrate diversity and serve both the straight and LGBT communities without regard for sexuality, gender, race or religion.

We believe people diagnosed with HIV matter

We are working hard to help bridge the gap in service, advice and professional resources the positive community has suffered. We feel the pain of our serodiscordant clients when one member is able to protect and provide for their partner with standard life Insurance, whilst the other, up until now, has often felt disempowered by not having equal access to the same resources.

We believe seroconcordant couples matter equally

We understand that our seroconcordant clients have often felt further marginalised by the prospect of discussing such important health issues with an unknown financial adviser while trying to navigate the complex and confusing life insurance system.

This is further compounded by wondering if the adviser would be able to assist at claims time in circumstances perhaps foreign to typical the adviser. These types of obstacles have meant that many of these important discussions have often been avoided along with establishing a life insurance policy.

We believe people diagnosed with diabetes matter

If you're living with diabetes or caring for someone who lives with diabetes, you are not alone. Diabetes is unlike other diseases, like cholesterol and hypertension, where often medication alone can successfully treat it. Diabetes requires a considerable chnage to daily life.

Learning to control this condition and monitor its fluctuations enables may people diagnosed with diabetes to live long and productive lives.

They all have plans, dreams, families and responsibilities like the rest of us

They also are at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke due to raised blood glucose levels. If they suffer a sickness or injury, their ability to bounce back to good health can be quickly compromised due to medical complications outside their day to day control.

This means their insuring their lives and their ability to 'continue to earn an income', is a strong financial decision that can become part of the lifestyle strategy to manage their condition and its effects on their family and financial stability.

  • For the single person diagnosed with diabetes, insuring your income earning ability is even more critical so that you can own the peace of mind that an insurance safety net can bring if, because of an accident, life doesn't happen like it was supposed to.

We believe that all Australians deserve a fair go

UnUnusal Risks Insured seeks to ensure positive people and their families have access to the very best professional insurance advice available, have access to advisers who understand the key challenges that positive people face, and advisers who are able to compassionately and skillfully care for their clients and families at claim time.

We believe that everyone has the responsibility to plan for their future, to protect and provide for their loved ones and to have the opportunity to feel safe and empowered; so they can live a truly unusual life.

You can read our Blog here

Behind every real business, there's a real person with a real story. We'd like to share our story with you.

Our backstory

'It really began over 20 years ago' - Our Director and senior adviser Drew Browne unUsual Risks Insured Australia

In 1991 I sat in the waiting room of St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney after discovering that I couldn’t work 60 hours a week and keep my health as well. I’d just received the news that I needed to be admitted for urgent surgery the next day, to have a growth removed from my throat.

As I sat there, surrounded by vintage editions of the National Geographic Magazine, and people in varying states of ill health and unhappiness...

...a simple black and white postcard caught my eye. The postcard was a photo of Mother Teresa who became known for her work with the extreme poor in the slums of India’s Calcutta. The caption read...

‘You don’t have to be a saint to do something good’

It was an brochure asking for people who’d be prepared to volunteer their time, learn therapeutic massage and then provide hands-on massage services to people with HIV in palliative care situations at a hospital clinic.

I folded a copy of the postcard into my back pocket to read another time. Weeks later, after my surgery and a great deal of personal loss, I remembered that simple black and white postcard from the waiting room, and so began my journey of doing something good.

After months of practical massage training, health and discrimination awareness education, I began regular weekly volunteering at a hospital with a newly opened HIV/AIDS ward. A year later, after so many deaths, many lessons and a new-found level of respect for the resilience of people labouring under stigma suffering terrible discrimination, I was asked to spend some time at a newly-opened Day Centre for positive people in the western suburbs of Sydney.

Mrs Patricia Kennedy, OAM

It was at this centre that I met and began my friendship with an HIV disability advocate, Mrs Patricia Kennedy, and her wonderful team of volunteers. Patricia was later to be officially recognised and awarded the Australian governments OAM honour in 2003 for her services to people living with disabilities and HIV. In 2013, she agreed to become the Patron for unUsual Risks Insured Australia.

The early days of HIV and AIDS

In the 1990s, the world was just waking up to the reality of HIV and AIDS. It was the social leprosy of its time. Because of people’s discrimination, intolerance and unfair judgements, anonymity and confidentiality were paramount — so no one knew what I did, who I supported and who I was honoured to care for.

Things began to change

Five turbulent years passed. I watched amazing breakthroughs in medical treatments. People diagnosed with HIV, when treated early, began to live long and fulfilling lives again. The HIV hospice moved a number of times and later found a more permanent location in Sydney's western suburbs.

Since then, ACON has been well established. The broader community understanding has begun to mature slowly as people realise that the most important issue is the person, not the diagnosis.

For over 18 years now I have worked in the financial services industry in the specialist area of life insurance. I’ve continued to see the move (though sometimes very slow) of some businesses towards greater tolerance and understanding, to acceptance and celebration of diversity in our greater community.

But there’s still a passive discrimination in business towards HIV

I've witnesses firsthand the passive discrimination in business towards people who accept and celebrate diversity in others.

  • Radio stations who no longer wished to be associated with a brand that celebrates diversity
  • Companies who made decisions based upon fear and discrimination over facts
  • The stigma and fear-based discrimination that so many LGBT ( Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender) people have to deal with daily when discussing their financial position, personal insurance plans and their desire to protect and provide for their families.

Tomorrow, history will judge us all on our businesses and our demonstrated commitment towards acceptance, respect and inclusion of all people. But today the consumer will judge us, and rightly so.

At unUsual Risks Insured Australia, we want to be found on the right side of history

There must always be respectful room for diversity and the safeguarding of our human rights. Honest differences in opinions are never a threat, but bigoted intolerance has no place in a civil society.

We believe this is a human rights issue

My interest in human rights started at a young age as I read confronting books by Dr Tony Campolo on sociology and ethics by Os Guinness. Campolo’s favourite charity, Opportunity International, became my charity of choice too.

In 2009 I formally became a brand ambassador for Opportunity International-Australia, a microfinance charity working with the extreme poor in the developing work,  without regard to gender, sexuality, race, religion or status.

Our doors are open for business and we welcome all like-minded people who need high-quality personal insurance and financial and investment services.

You can browse through our Case Studies here. Make us part of your story today.