Recently, National Underwriter’s executive managing editor Emily Holbrook wrote an editorial entitled “LGBT: The emerging market closest to home,” in which she notes that just as insurance companies have placed a strong focus on multicultural markets (something for which the industry deserves more praise than it currently gets), so too should it place a similar focus on serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which has some very unique financial planning needs. (Indeed, some carriers have already begun to do just that.)
We have covered this topic at least twice before in the last few years, and both times, as cover stories. Why do we return to this topic? Is it because we have a need to advance the social cause of the LGBT community? No. It is not my role as an editor for this publication, nor is it Emily’s, to make social statements for the sake of making social statements. Our role is to point out areas in which the life and health industry could either address a challenge or take advantage of an opportunity. With the legal acceptance of gay marriage in an increasing number of states, the financial planning realities for homosexual couples – many of whom are relatively affluent thanks to their double income, no kids status – present a very real business opportunity for financial planners willing to work with such clients. Alas, not all of our readers approve, as this letter, written in response to Emily’s editorial, shows:
Does it make any difference to you that the “gay lifestyle” is very offensive to Christians? Have you ever considered that embracing and validating sodomy is insensitive, intolerant and bigoted toward Christians? Are you aware that both the Old Testament and the New Testament condemn the behavior as sinful?
God not only condemns the behavior, His word calls it abominable! He does not condemn the sinner, only the sin. Jesus DID die. He died for sinners. (You and me.) He tells us to go and sin no more. The gay crowd is advancing the concept of go and sin some more!
I am very tired of sodomy being put up on a pedestal as if it were wholesome. It is not healthy or wholesome. Why should we promote and embrace an unholy behavior?
I am sure the author of the letter wouldn’t mind being identified, but I left out the name here because the importance of the letter isn’t who wrote it, but what was said. Every time we have covered this topic, we have received at least one letter along these lines. From what I can tell, this viewpoint is shared by at least some of our audience, but if it is shared by the majority, then it is a silent one. That said, we take all of our feedback seriously, especially when it suggests that just by covering a certain topic we have caused offense.
With respect to our reader here—who took valuable time out of the day to share thoughts with us—that homosexuality is offensive to some is an insufficient reason for National Underwriter to ignore it as a topic.
The consumption of alcohol is very offensive to certain Christians (and to all observant Muslims). And yet, when we run stories about liquor liability programs in National Underwriter Property & Casualty, we do not get complaints citing religious offense. Even if we did, it would not stop us from covering liquor liability, as it is an important insurance market, and one in which those professionals who do not find the subject matter objectionable may conduct their business. By covering liquor liability, we do not mean to promote drinking (though I am sure some would see our failure to ignore the topic, or our failure to decry it to be tantamount to supporting the behavior). Rather, we mean to explore the insurance business it represents.
Speaking of Muslims, strict Islamic law forbids virtually all kinds of conventional banking and insurance, as it breaks that religion’s prohibitions against usury. That is why there is an entirely separate Islamic insurance industry that serves both the life/health and property casualty worlds. Those products and services are structured in a very specific way so as to comply with Islamic law. That we cover non-Islamic insurance at all is surely very offensive to every strict Muslim in the world, let alone those in our readership. And yet we have not gotten any complaints over it. And again, even if we did, all we could offer is that we seek not to offend those whose religion is at cross-purposes with the business opportunities present in the modern insurance world.
Thankfully, it is a free country, and producers can always pick and choose what kind of clientele they wish to serve. National Underwriter, in the interest of serving all, will make no such discriminations. Nor will we make any apologies for doing so.