A New York and New Jersey Lawyer Who Represents Policyholders and Beneficiaries in Life Insurance Denial Cases

Talk about chutzpah. Or maybe just plain ignorance and stupidity. A life insurance company in New Zealand had an application question that asked whether the applicant had homosexual sex:

Have you or your sexual partner(s): Engaged in sexual activity with person9s) whose previous or current sexual behaviour involves homosexual activity or puts them at risk of HIV?

At least here in the U.S., this question indicates a preference towards heterosexuals and a bias against homosexuals. To be clear, an insurance company offering its product to consumers cannot demonstrate a preference for, or bias against, any particular race, religion, ethnic group, or sexual orientation. By putting forth this particular question, the insurance company opened itself up to claims of illegal discrimination.

Gay rights activists asserted that the question evidenced homophobia and was based on inaccurate assumptions about gay and lesbians, leading to discrimination. In addition, the article that reported this story noted that the risk for lesbians of contracting HIV through sexual contact is virtually non-existent. Also, it pointed out that the question could have been asked differently, such as inquiring if the applicant had recently engaged in sexual activity with a person in a high-risk group for HIV or AIDS, which might also include a person from an African community.

Indeed, life insurance companies must carefully word their questions to specifically address conditions that may have an impact on mortality, making every effort not to single out any particular group of people.


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