NU Online News Service, March 12, 2004, 2:03 p.m. EST, Washington – Congress might block life insurers from considering lawful past travel in underwriting decisions.[@@]

A new House bill, H.R. 3927, would bar life insurers from using information about previous travel experiences as a factor in pricing a life insurance policy, determining an individual’s eligibility or setting cancellation terms or conditions.

H.R. 3927, also known as the Life Insurance Anti-Discrimination in Travel Act, was introduced by Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

Emanuel says he introduced the bill in response to reports that individuals who have traveled in the past to Israel and 26 other countries on the State Department’s current “Travel Warnings” list have been denied access to life insurance.

“It is outrageous that life insurance companies are holding a potential customer’s past travel history over his or her head,” Emanuel says in a statement.

“Obviously, assessing risk should remain the core of the life insurance industry, but whether or not an applicant has visited a specific location, such as Israel or Turkey, is not a legitimate or reliable factor in determining future risk,” he says.

H.R. 3927 would apply only to life insurance. All other types of insurance, including health insurance, are excluded.

Jack Dolan, a representative for the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says life insurers, in general, don’t support legislation that aims to interfere with underwriting practices that are based on sound actuarial principles and reasonably anticipated experiences.