Corporate Equality Index Raises Bar for LGBT Workplace Equality

Remarkable advances have taken place on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality (LGBT) in the workplace since 2002, as documented in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

When the CEI was launched in 2002, only 13 businesses achieved a top score. This year, some 190 corporations, including seven  insurers, have received a 100 percent score on significantly more stringent criteria, including 10 of the top 20 Fortune-ranked companies.

The CEI rates employers on a scale from 0 to 100 percent based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices, including non-discrimination policies and training, partner benefits, transgender inclusive health insurance coverage and LGBT resource groups.

Three years ago, HRC began an initiative to raise the bar on its rating criteria so that a 100 percent score would reflect best practices of LGBT inclusion in the workplace.

As part of this effort, in 2012 companies are now rated on equal health coverage for transgender employees, including sexual reassignment surgery. In 2009, 85 companies offered transgender health coverage. This year, some 207 companies offered all of the benefits – a 144 percent increase.

Insurers receiving the 100 percent rating this year are: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Chubb Corp, ING North America, MetLife, Nationwide, Prudential Financial, and Sun Life Financial.

Aon, Deloitte and Marsh & McLennan were among other insurance-related businesses to earn the top rating.

If you’re wondering why the list of insurers that scored 100 is shorter this year, the change in rating criteria clearly had an impact. It’s helpful to know that those insurers not receiving a 100 percent  rating are in good company – the number of companies 0verall  to receive a perfect rating fell by 44 percent this year.

HRC has also issued a challenge to the insurance industry to provide products that meet the needs of LGBT customers by launching an insurance equality task force comprised of top CEI company representatives, insurance experts and other key stakeholders.

In the words of HRC:

The main objective of this task force is to facilitate the development and availability of health plans and insurance products that provide coverage of medically necessary treatment for transgender individuals in accordance with accepted medical standards.†

A total of 850 businesses have been rated in the 2012 CEI, including the entire Fortune 500. Some 277 Fortune 500 companies voluntarily submitted surveys, while the remaining 214 were rated based upon publicly-available data.

In addition, 65 Fortune 1000 companies, 134 law firms and 160 other companies voluntarily participated in the 2012 CEI.

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