ADL Welcomes House Approval Of Legislation To Protect Travelers From Discriminatory Life Insurance Practices
New York, NY, September 19, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) hailed approval by the U.S. House of Representatives of legislation that would help protect travelers from unfair life insurance discrimination on the basis of past or future lawful foreign travel. The League, which has led the fight to enact similar legislative and regulatory protection at the state level, coordinated a letter of support for the measure to House leaders from 16 American Jewish organizations.
"We have seen too many instances of unjustified life insurance denials – or excessive premiums – based on past or future travel to Israel, without any demonstration of increased risk associated with such travel. This unfair policy is wrong, and impacts everyone -- from tourists to corporate executives to students studying abroad," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Questions about past and future travel often appear on insurance applications, and travelers who list a country on the current State Department advisory list – such as Israel – have too often found that they are rejected and are unable to obtain life insurance from the carrier of their choice."
Legislation to prohibit insurance discrimination on the basis of past or future lawful travel has already passed in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Washington. Travel fairness provisions were also included in the House-passed Terrorism Risk Extension Act of 2005, but action stalled when the Senate did not take up the measure.
"We understand that the insurance industry relies on risk assessment to determine whether to provide coverage, but denials should only occur when bona fide statistical differences in risk or exposure have been substantiated," said Mr. Foxman. "We will continue to take a leadership role in support of this measure and urge the Senate to join the House and approve this initiative promptly."
ADL commended the author of the travel fairness provisions, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), as well as Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Michael Capuano (D-MA) for their leadership in promoting passage of the fairness provisions.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.