We share this story in the service of others.
Behind every real business, there's a real person with a real story. We'd like to share our story with you.
We believe that investing in the future health and wellbeing of another is an act of service greater than ourselves — and in many cases, it's what makes us human.Drew Browne Founder Unusual Risks Insured Australia
The drive behind Unusual Risks really begun over twenty years ago, in a big city hospital waiting room.
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 of 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 a brochure asking for people who’d be prepared to volunteer their time, with people living 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.
Our friend 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 government's OAM honour in 2003 for her services to people living with disabilities and HIV.
In 2013, she inspired us to create Unusual Risks Insured Australia.
Hear more about this inspirational community leaders story: The Story of Patricia - How one Australian Scottish born Grandmother remembers the 1980's and the arrival of AIDS & HIV to Australia
The early days of HIV & AIDS In Australia
In the 1990s, the world was just waking up to the reality of HIV & AIDS.
It was the social leprosy of its time.
Because of people’s fear, discrimination, intolerance and unfair judgments, working with affected people meant 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've 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 20 years now I have worked in the financial services industry in the specialist area of life insurance. I’ve continued to see some businesses move (at glacial speed) towards greater tolerance and understanding, and then to acceptance and celebration of diversity in our greater community.
But there’s still active and passive discrimination in business towards people living with HIV
I've witnessed firsthand the passive discrimination in business towards people who accept and celebrate diversity in others.
- FM Radio stations who no longer wished to be associated with a brand that celebrates diversity, inclusion and belonging.
- Companies who made decisions based upon fear and discrimination over facts and transparency.
- The stigma and fear-based discrimination that so many LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) people have to deal with daily when discussing their financial position, personal insurance plans and their desire to protect and provide for their families.
- Deep-seated social conservatism in some Western suburbs multicultural communities translating in to recording the highest 'No' vote at 73.9 percent in the 2017 Australian Government's Marriage Equality Survey.
Tomorrow, history will judge us all on our businesses and our demonstrated commitment towards acceptance, respect and inclusion of all people - regardless of who they love.
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 a respectful room for diversity and the safeguarding of human rights. Honest differences in opinions are never a threat, but bigoted intolerance and selective discrimination have no place in civil society or its businesses.
We believe #AdviceEquality is truly a human rights issue
- Unusual Risks Insured Australia opened it's specialty doors for business 1st December 2013
- In September 2014 we were proud finalists in the Honour Awards and won the Outstanding Financial Product Award for KPI Sydney
- In May 2016 our parent company Sapience Financial Certified as a B Corporation, the international standard for using business as a force for good, and
- In May 2017 we were recognised by the inaugural national Australian Businesses of Tomorrow Awards.
- Today we're doing business with LGBTIQ+ people and our Allies and anyone who believes in a truly Fair Go for all Australians, and a better future for our children.
Human Rights and LGBT+ D&I cannot be separated
Nobody and no business lives in a vacuum.
- The UN released the 17 UN Global Goals to provide a roadmap for governments and businesses to focus their efforts to make the world a better place by 2030.
- Global Goal #10 Reduce Inequalities, focuses on reducing discrimination and inequality that often leads to financial and social discrimination.
- In the same year the UN launched the Standards of Conduct for Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people providing five concrete steps companies can take to align their policies and practices with international standards on human rights of LGBTI people.
Our doors are open for business and we welcome all like-minded people who need high-quality personal insurance and financial and investment services. We don't discriminate.
Why not make us part of your story today and upgrade to a Specialised Financial Adviser in your corner looking out for your best interests.
Where to now?