Tag Archives: LGBT

Record number of insurers support LGBT equality

If you’re among the millions of people attending a Pride parade in your home city this weekend, look out for participating insurers.

Many companies support LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) events throughout the month of June and indeed year-round as part of their continuing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Some 36 insurers were recently recognized as one of the “best places to work for LGBT equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, earning a perfect score of 100 percent on their 2017 Corporate Equality Index.

The number of insurers achieving the top ranking has seen a steady increase over the last decade. Read more on LGBT insurance news and developments in some of our earlier posts through the years (here, here and here),

Here’s an overview of diversity and inclusion in the insurance industry from the Insurance Information Institute.

Pride Round-Up

June is Pride month and our annual round-up of the latest insurance news around the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community must first acknowledge the June 12 tragedy at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Some of the insurance implications of the attack are discussed in this Insurance Business Magazine article.

LGBT Financials: In the year since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating states must permit same-sex marriages, LGBT households are changing and marriage equality has simplified finances for many, according to the 2016/2017 LGBT Financial Experience survey by Prudential. Commentary from survey respondents suggests this is due to simplified taxes, insurance coverage and estate planning. Despite agreement on the importance of saving for the future, in comparison to the general population, fewer LGBT respondents have retirement accounts, life insurance or a will or estate plan.

Transgender Rights: As discussed in our earlier blog post Where Insurance Meets Transgender Rights, recent federal and state rulings pertaining to the rights of transgender individuals (including laws restricting restroom access) raise a number of issues, and there are potential insurance implications to consider. While this is an evolving area of law and liability for businesses and municipalities everywhere, insurers—and the policies they write—will no doubt be implicated. Businesses need to know what their state or municipality has enacted on this issue and establish a coherent nondiscriminatory policy to minimize their liabilities.

Corporate Equality: A record 407 businesses, including 27 insurers scored 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their workplace policies, benefits and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. The number of insurers achieving the top ranking has seen a steady increase over the last decade. A total of 851 businesses were rated in the 2016 CEI. Some 165 of the Fortune 500-ranked businesses achieved a 100 percent rating.

Have a safe and Happy Pride!

Where Insurance Meets Transgender Rights

Both as assumers of risk and as employers, insurers are in a unique position when it comes to navigating the changing legal environment and civil rights.

Recent federal and state rulings pertaining to the rights of transgender individuals raise a number of issues, and there are potential insurance implications to consider.

In March North Carolina passed a controversial law (HB 2) requiring transgender individuals to use public bathrooms that correspond to their gender at birth. This led the U.S. Justice Department to send a letter to North Carolina leaders saying the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX.

More than 150 CEOs and business leaders of major companies voiced their opposition. PayPal withdrew its plans for a $3.6 million investment and 400 jobs in the Tar Heel state.

Also in April, in a landmark ruling on transgender students’ rights in schools, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia decided that the U.S. Department of Education can prohibit anti-transgender discrimination under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. (G.G. v Gloucester County School Board)

In the wake of this ruling, President Obama issued a directive instructing public schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

Meanwhile, several federal agencies have issued strong opinions on the issue of discrimination and transgender rights, for example:

—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ruled that hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers cannot discriminate against patients on the basis of gender identity.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has made clear that laws restricting restroom access that affect transgender individuals are discriminatory.

—The Departments of Justice and Education issued a joint letter to public schools explaining how federal law prohibiting sex discrimination affects schools’ obligations toward transgender students.

—The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued several employers over their treatment of transgender employees, including restroom access, on the basis that alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, i.e.. employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

While this is an evolving area of law and liability for businesses and municipalities everywhere, insurers—and the policies they write—will no doubt be implicated.

Industry experts say it’s critical that businesses find out what their state or municipality has enacted on this issue and establish a coherent nondiscriminatory policy to minimize their own liabilities.

In a recent PodCast with A.M. Best on the legal issues surrounding transgender restroom access Brian Cafritz, a partner at Kalbaugh, Pfund & Messersmith Law P.C. said there could be potential implications for commercial general liability policies that cover slander, defamation, assaults, or other discrimination acts.

Cafritz also noted that as federal laws change, negligent hiring or retention claims could be raised impacting the insurance policies that cover these entities.

School districts and municipalities in particular face rising potential liability. A recent brief by Munich Re noted that policy coverage that might be impacted by transgender litigation against school personnel include:

—General liability: physical bodily injury and/or mental anguish, mental injury

—Personal Injury: defamation of character, violation of privacy rights

—Wrongful Acts – tortious error, act or omission

Workplace issues as they relate to transgender employees was a topic of discussion at the recent RIMS conference session, as reported by Business Insurance.

Pride Round-Up 2014

June is Pride month so it’s time for our annual round-up of the latest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) insurance news.

Corporate Equality: A record 304 businesses, including 16 insurers scored 100 percent in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) based on their LGBT workplace policies, benefits and practices. The number of insurers achieving the top ranking has seen a steady increase over the last decade, going from zero in 2002, to 10 in 2008 and 16 in 2014. A total of 734 businesses were rated in the 2014 CEI. This year marks the first time in history that over 60 percent of the Fortune 500 include both sexual orientation and gender identity protections.

LGBT Marketing: There’s been a surge of marketing directed at LGBT consumers — and with good reason. The total buying power of the LGBT adult population in the U.S. for 2013 was projected at $830 billion, according to a November analysis by Witeck Communications. But it’s not just LGBT consumers who respond to this advertising. Some 70 percent of non-LGBT adults are likely to consider a brand known to provide equal workplace benefits, Harris Interactive and Witeck Communications found. Just a few weeks ago, insurer Allstate launched its “Out Holding Hands” program, to encourage members of the LGBT community to share special and everyday moments out holding hands with their loved ones. Allstate teamed up with singer-songwriter Eli Lieb to create a video that illustrates the company’s belief that everyone should be treated with respect and without judgment no matter who they love. The video can be viewed on Allstate.com/LGBT.

Allstate’s campaign is certainly eye-catching. On a recent trip to Asbury Park, New Jersey, we couldn’t miss this billboard:

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.

Pride Round-Up 2011

June is Pride month, so here’s a round-up of some of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community that piqued our interest:

Tying the knot: New York could become the sixth state in the nation to allow same sex marriage, pending a State Senate vote that  reports suggest  may happen  today. The NY State Assembly already voted in favor of the bill Wednesday. Same sex marriage is currently legal in five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia. In addition, a number of states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. Californians are still awaiting the outcome of a federal court case that will determine the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 (a constitutional amendment passed in California in November 2008 that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples).

Census snapshots: The Williams Institute at UCLA will be releasing snapshots of the 2010 Census throughout the summer, providing demographic and geographic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children for all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. New this week: Alabama and Hawaii. The 2010 U.S. Census is the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses.

Corporate equality: Insurers are among a growing  number of Fortune 500 companies that continue to break new ground in workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). 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, gender transition guidelines and LGBT resource groups. As an industry, insurance scored an average 91 percent rating in the latest survey, up from 88 percent the previous year. Check out our earlier post to see which insurers received a 100 percent rating.

Social media for a good cause: Direct auto insurer Esurance recently launched a charitable giving campaign on Facebook in support of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth. For each new “Like† on its Facebook page, Esurance donated $10 to the organization, raising a total of $50,000. If you haven’t already, show your support and “Like† Esurance.

Insurers and Corporate Equality Index

Corporate America continues to break new ground in its workplace protections and benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

Insurers are among a record 844 U.S. companies and law firms that have been rated as part of this year’s survey, including for the first time the entire Fortune 500.

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, gender transition guidelines and LGBT employee resource groups.

As an industry, insurance scored an average 91 percent rating this year, up from 88 percent last year.

We tip our hat to AIG and John Hancock Financial Services for receiving the 100 percent rating for the first time.

Other insurers receiving the 100 percent rating are: AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, Allianz Life, Allstate Corp, Chubb Corp, CNA, Esurance, The Hartford, ING North America, Massachusetts Mutual Life, MetLife, Nationwide, New York Life Insurance Co, Pacific Life Insurance Co, Progressive Corp, Prudential Financial, and Sun Life Financial.

Aon, Deloitte and Marsh & McLennan were among other insurance-related businesses to earn the top rating. A special mention to Travelers Cos which improved its rating by 35 points this year.

An unprecedented 337 major U.S. businesses earned the top rating of 100 percent this year, up from 305 with top ratings last year. Collectively, these businesses employ over 8.3 million full-time workers.

When the survey was launched in 2002, only 13 companies received 100 percent.

Pride Round-Up 2010

June is Pride month and so it’s time for our round-up of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Here are some of the top stories:

The counting has begun: The 2010 U.S. Census will be the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses. The Williams Institute at UCLA reports that while the 2010 Census did not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBT people living with a spouse or partner were able to identify their relationship by checking either “husband or wife† or “unmarried partner† box.

To have and to hold: Same sex marriage is now legal in five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia. In addition, a number of states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. In California, the outcome of a federal court case will determine the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 (a constitutional amendment passed in November 2008 that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples). It’s important to recognize that state laws do not extend any of the benefits on a Federal level.

Healthy, wealthy and wise: The MetLife Mature Market Institute has made its publication Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples available free to the public. Compiled with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), the publication offers guidance and advice to LGBT boomers in the areas of legacy planning, employee benefits, healthcare, financial and retirement planning.

Going to market: LGBT consumers are eager for health insurers to market to them directly. A national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications found that only 12 percent of LGBT adults were aware of any health insurance provider that currently markets (or has marketed) products to the LGBT community specifically. In addition, 81 percent of gays and lesbians feel it is important to see print advertisements for health care carriers with information specifically intended for them as customers.