The relationship between the insurance sector and the LGBT+ community has been a big focus for International Adviser in its coverage of diversity and inclusion issues within financial services.
In one of our investigations in 2020, we discovered that people living with HIV – who at the time were mostly gay and bisexual men – felt ‘discriminated’ against by insurance providers as many adopted “blanket or general” policies making it nearly impossible for them to obtain protection cover.
But in a positive turn of events, AIG Life – the UK subsidiary of US-based AIG – has lifted all restrictions for HIV+ customers, IA can reveal.
Helen Croft, head of underwriting strategy at AIG Life, told IA the company has been able to change the way it underwrites people living with HIV “as the insurance risk has reduced”.
“The treatments now available help suppress the amount of HIV in the body and have significantly improved both mortality and quality of life.”
This marks a huge step forward for the industry, especially after critics of the treatment of HIV+ people lamented that medical advances in the field of HIV/Aids meant that they did not pose as much of a risk as providers still believed.
AIG Life’s updates to its underwriting process mean that:
- The insurer currently has no HIV-specific restrictions for people applying for life insurance;
- Reinsurers have reviewed their underwriting manuals using “evidence-based research” and have given guidance to life insurers to appropriately assess risk; and,
- The premiums AIG charges to HIV+ people have reduced, with some being accepted with no increase whatsoever.
Croft added: “We also changed our underwriting processes after discovering that it was delaying the decision-making process for people with HIV.
“We were writing to their GP to get the information for their applications but it’s not generally their GP involved in the management of HIV – more likely their specialist and the customer have the best insight.
“So rather than write straight to the GP, we now speak to the customer first, get their insight on their own condition, use specialist letters that will inform what’s happening, and ask who to speak if we need more info, making it a much quicker and easier decision-making process.”