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Insurer Favors 'Sex' Over 'Gender' in Life Policy Overviews

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A life insurer says life underwriters need to know about an insured’s sex at birth, not just the applicant’s current gender identity.

Pacific Life Insurance Company says any revised versions of life policy overview summary regulations should refer to the insured’s sex, not to the insured’s gender.

(Related: A Look at the Future of Life Insurance Policy Illustrations)

“‘Gender; is a fluid concept while ‘Sex’ refers to genetic sex at birth,” Pacific Life says in a comment letter sent to an arm of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). “Using ‘Sex’ enables insurers to apply traditional underwriting practices that are based on the insured’s or proposed insured’s genetic sex at birth.”

Pacific Life sent the letter to the NAIC’s Life Insurance Illustration Issues Working Group.

The Background

The NAIC is a group for state insurance regulators. It develops “models,” or examples of what state insurance laws or regulations could look like, to help states share legal and policymaking expertise, and to help states make their insurance rules more like other states’ insurance rules.

The Life Insurance Illustration Issues Working Group is exploring the idea of improving the narrative policy summary required by a section of the NAIC’s existing Life Insurance Illustrations Model Regulation.

The working group is also reviewing the policy overview required the NAIC’s Life Insurance Disclosure Model Regulation.

The working group recently asked the public for comments on the Life Insurance Disclosure Model Regulation policy overview requirements. The working group is preparing to discuss the comments July 30, during a conference call meeting.

Pacific Life Definitions Comments

Pacific Life talks about the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ in comments on the definitions section in a proposed draft update of the policy overview model.

The update drafters have referred to the “gender of the insured or insureds” in a description of “information about the insured” that ought to be included in a life insurance policy overview.

The current version of that section suggests that an insurer ought to include the “date of birth of insured or insureds” in the policy overview.

Pacific Life has proposed deleting “date of birth of insured or insureds.”

“Personally identifying information not necessary to the provision of a policy overview should be deleted from the proposed model revision,” the company says.

Pacific Life also has proposed a number of other changes, such as replacing a requirement that a policy overview include the insured’s “risk class with a statement as to where the insured can find additional information regarding risk classes” with a requirement that the overview merely give the policyholder’s risk class.

Every life insure has a different risk class structure, and getting more details about risk class would require that the insured have access to the insurer’s underwriting manual, Pacific Life says.

“For this reason, detailed risk class information would not be a useful consumer comparison tool and should be deleted,” the company says. “For policy overview purposes, a simple provision of ‘risk class’ will indicate basic class distinctions which might be useful to a consumer, e.g., smoker versus non-smoker.”


The Life Insurance Illustration Issues Working Group section of the NAIC website is available here.

The link to the Pacific Life comment letter is in the Meeting Materials section for the July 30 conference call meeting.

— Read Transgender Catering Manager Tests Georgia’s Health Insurance Rules, on ThinkAdvisor.

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