Southern Cross Health Society awarded Rainbow Tick

Thursday , 18 January 2018 by Campbell Gibson

Southern Cross Health Society is today being awarded the Rainbow Tick, recognising the health insurer’s commitment to providing an inclusive and progressive workplace.

The Rainbow Tick is awarded to organisations that have shown they are a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The term “rainbow” encompasses people who are LGBTTI or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui and intersex.

Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Nick Astwick says the accreditation reflects the health insurer’s purpose of helping Kiwis to live their healthiest lives.

“We established a Diversity and Inclusion forum in September 2016, made up of employees from across the business at all levels. Achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation and all it represents for our staff was the first priority for the group so I’m extremely proud that we have achieved this today,” he says.

Rainbow Tick Programme Director Michael Stevens says he was impressed with how Southern Cross Health Society’s internal values and culture aligned with the ethos of the Rainbow Tick.

“Southern Cross Health Society truly encourages employees to bring their whole self to work, fostering an open and diverse workplace.”

Inclusive application process for members

Southern Cross Health Society further demonstrated its ongoing commitment to diversity by working with Rainbow Tick to create options to help members select their biological sex and gender when applying for health insurance*.

To establish cover under some of its policies*, Southern Cross Health Society needs to know the biological make-up of an applicant — in other words their biological sex. In most cases, a person’s biological sex is that assigned at birth. However, this may be different for people who have had surgical gender reassignment or are intersex — meaning their internal reproductive anatomy could comprise of both male and female biology, which affects one in every 2000 babies**.

Mr Astwick says, “Southern Cross Health Society’s vision is to create a healthier society — I believe diversity and equality are core to this.”

Rainbow Tick’s Mr Stevens says, “The work Southern Cross Health Society put into ensuring its insurance processes are welcoming, clear, and accessible to gender-variant people seeking health insurance is commendable.”

“They are thorough, clear and offer dignity and inclusion to people who often find it emotionally challenging to obtain health insurance. The result is a model for others to follow in New Zealand, if not the world.”

To celebrate receiving accreditation, Southern Cross Health Society will temporarily change the colours of its logo on its website and social media channels to incorporate the rainbow.

Further information about the changes can be found here.


* The Cancer Assist and Critical Illness policies, as well as Healthy Lifestyle Rewards for health insurance policies, require biological sex information.

** As cited by the Intersex Society of North America.