British insurance rules ban linking homosexuality with HIV risk



New guidelines
from the Association of British Insurers that took effect
on Saturday prevent insurance agents from asking male life
insurance policy applicants questions about their
sexual practices to determine if they are at risk for
HIV infection, the Financial Times reports.
Some U.K. insurance companies had asked male
applicants if they had ever had sex with other men. The
companies linked homosexuality with a higher risk for
HIV infection when determining whether to grant life
insurance policies and what to charge for them.

The new
guidelines now prevent insurance agents from asking
applicants about their sexual orientation or sexual
activity and from engaging in “speculative
underwriting” as to HIV risk. "The guidance makes it
very clear that companies cannot discriminate against people
on the basis of their sexuality," ABI spokesman
Jonathan French told the Financial Times.

However, insurers
can require some applicants to take HIV antibody tests,
according to the guidelines. Negative HIV tests are required
for life insurance policies worth more than $1.75
million for women and married men, and for policies of
more than $440,000 for single men. (

Tags: Health