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Bill Would Bar Life Insurers From Using Applicants Travel History To Deny Coverage

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Life insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage or otherwise discriminating against individuals based on their lawful past travel under legislation just introduced in the House.

The Life Insurance Anti-Discrimination in Travel Act would prevent life insurers from using previous travel experiences as a factor in determining the pricing of a life insurance policy or determining a persons eligibility.

Rep. Rahn Emanuel, D-Ill., who introduced the legislation, H.R. 3927, says the bill is in response to reports that individuals who have traveled in the past to Israel and the other 26 countries on the State Departments current “Travel Warnings” list have been denied access to life insurance.

“It is outrageous that life insurance companies are holding a potential customers 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.”

Jack Dolan, a spokesman for the Washington-based American Council of Life Insurers, says that, in general, life insurers dont support legislation that aims to interfere with underwriting practices based on sound actuarial principles and reasonably anticipated experiences.

The bill would bar the use of past lawful travel experience as a factor in determining eligibility, cancellation, terms (including premium rates) or conditions of life insurance coverage.

The legislation would only apply to life insurance. All other types of insurance, including health, are excluded.

Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, March 19, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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