Insurance industry changes against gay discrimination

Sexuality Removed From Life Insurance Application Process

01.08.2007

The application process for life insurance has changed, claims the Association of British Insurers (ABI), so as to ensure no discrimination on grounds of sexuality.

The ABI explained that in the past there was the perception that gay people were treated unfairly by the insurance industry.

However, sexuality is no longer part of the application process for life insurance, nor does an applicant have to state that they are in a civil partnership, their sexuality or HIV risk.

An ABI spokesman said: "It's possible that there has been a perception that applications were not treated in the same way in the past, but now no longer do people have to disclose what their sexuality is.

"There is government legislation now which means that you don't have to disclose whether you're in a civil partnership, so there can be no way that the insurance company knows what your sexuality is."

Last year the ABI also launched a new guide aimed at gay men trying to dispel myths about life insurance, and show that the industry has changed its attitude to sexuality.

One of the main misconceptions dealt with in the guide is that having an HIV test can affect an application for life insurance. The guide clarifies the fact that it is only necessary to declare a test if it is positive, not if one has been taken.

The guide states: "Applicants will not be penalised by life insurance companies if they have taken an HIV test. You do not need to declare 'negative' HIV tests.

"On all applications for life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection insurance, you will be asked if you have tested positive for HIV. If the answer is yes, you must say so."

Richard Walsh, the ABI's head of health insurance, said: "This consumer guide explains to the gay community the changes that have been made.

"Insurers now have strict guidance to ensure that only relevant information is taken into account when determining premiums and levels of cover. Application forms no longer ask questions about sexuality."