LGBT insurance concerns

Emerald Life looks to address LGBT insurance concerns

Firm will launch home, life, wedding and pet insurance products aimed at the gay and lesbian community

An insurance provider which has unveiled products specially aimed at the LGBT community has said that gay people often feel ignored when buying financial services.

Emerald Life, based in London, launched last week with home, life, wedding and pet insurance products aimed at the gay and lesbian community. It is expected that travel policies will follow later.

The products are also open to heterosexual customers, said chief executive Heidi McCormack, but come as a result of two years of research where it emerged that members of the LGBT community often felt disenfranchised.

“It had to do with really feeling unaddressed. Things like family units not being addressed, family compositions that weren’t a 2.25 and a station wagon in the driveway,” she said. “No one is going to assume anything about your sexuality or the sexuality of your partner. The site also enables a Mr and Mr to sign up, or a Mrs and Mrs.”

She quotes research from YouGov which says almost eight out of 10 gay and lesbian people surveyed want the way in which insurance companies treat them to change – specifically about how the sex of their partners is presumed.

In some other insurance policies, professions which may have a higher number of people from the gay community have been excluded from coverage.

“When you get a home policy you have to put in your profession and that is part of – depending on the insurer – the rating. In some of the policies that we were looking at, fashion and entertainment were excluded as permissible professions, and that is a kind of a throw over from the late 1980s and early 1990s,” McCormack said.

An HIV positive status will not automatically exclude people from medical cover within travel or wedding insurance, while the wedding cover includes legal expenses in case of discriminatory treatment by service providers.

“It is a community that is getting neither the services nor the products that they want,” McCormack said.