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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Transsexual insurance
Chris Morgan

There are still members of the LGBT community that are discriminated against by the insurance industry. In his latest financial column Chris Morgan highlights the treatment received by one transsexual client.

Sophie is concerned about a life assurance application that she’s made recently to a life assurance company. She has applied to cover her mortgage for a sum of £42,500 over 12 years, which pays out in the event of her death or serious illness.

Sophie said:

‘The life assurance company are not treating me fairly, as they keep addressing any letters to Mister, even though my original application form was in the name of Ms Sophie. I changed my gender six years ago, and they are not recognising my new identity.’

Sophie has a right to feel aggrieved, as any person who has already undergone gender reassignment is entitled to apply for insurance in their acquired identity. This rule applies to all Life Assurance, Critical Illness, Income Protection, Pension and Investments applications.

The Association of British Insurers has issued guidance notes on this subject, which now acts as the industry standard. Where gender reassignment has already taken place prior to an application, the person should be treated in accordance with their new identity.

Sophie continued

‘My application has now been running for over 4 months, and the premium keeps going up. It appears that I’m being charged as a male, when the policy should be on rates charged to a female. What do you suggest I do?’

Here’s a summary of insurance industry rules that apply to Transsexuals

If you have already been through gender reassignment, then any financial application should be made and treated on your acquired gender. It is quite normal for any Life Assurance company to ask you for access to any medical records.

The premium that you pay should be on the basis of your new identity and any increased premiums on your policy should be for medical reasons only. Any correspondence from the insurance company should be addressed in line with your wishes.

Should your intention be to undergo gender reassignment, but you have not started the process then you should be treated under your current gender. If you already have existing insurance policies in place, then you are entitled to change these and be addressed as your new title.

And Sophie?

We arranged a Mortgage Protection policy for Ms Sophie, without any issues over identity and with premiums at normal rates. In our opinion, no matter what a persons gender, creed, colour, sexuality, health status you should be treated with respect.

Chris Morgan is Managing Director of Compass, Financial Advisers to the Gay Community and editor of Pink Finance the gay finance magazine


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