It’s an increasingly common question these days. The short answer is yes, of course. The long answer? Well, keep reading.
Life insurance applications used to, incorrectly, assume that you could use a tersely worded “Sex:” followed by checkboxes for male or female to ask about an applicant’s gender. Now, the industry aims to make its applications align with our better understanding of sex and gender.
One reason the industry has been slow to adjust: Math. The actuarial process requires decades of personal and medical history to determine mortality rates. For most of that time, those mortality rates were based on sex. (At almost every age, men are more likely to die than women are, and therefore men usually pay a higher rate on their life insurance policy. Well, except in Montana, where all applications and policies are unisex).
To be candid, the life insurance industry isn’t caught up either. We know there is still work to be done. Haven Life is developing an application that is inclusive of non-binary people.
If you are one of the 1.6 million Americans who identify as a trans man or a trans woman, here is what you need to know about applying for life insurance.
Know your rights under the law
In many states, life insurance companies are forbidden from discriminating against transgender applicants. So, depending on your state, you may be protected and can engage your prospective insurer from a more empowered position — essentially, you have the law on your side.
Determining which states offer protection can be complicated. Some states forbid all businesses from discriminating; others provide a patchwork of protections that include life insurance. Resources like the Transgender Law Center and the Movement Advancement Project can help. The Human Rights Campaign also provides a comprehensive map of state-by-state legal protections on an array of subjects.
Know the insurance company
If you’re in one of the states where you do not have legal protections, or merely want to go the extra step of making sure your life insurance company shares the same values that you do, you can research an individual insurer’s approach to LGBTQ+ issues. (It’s worth noting that, despite its slow pace of change, the industry as a whole has historically been one of the leaders on this front.) This may help you feel more comfortable in any conversations that arise out of your application process.
Consider how a company treats its own employees. For example, MassMutual earned a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which means the company is committed to supporting LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace, and supporting LGBTQ+ rights by, for example, filing amicus briefs in notable court cases. This is the top rating from the community’s leading authority on its rights.
You can also reach out to the insurer’s customer service before requesting a quote or filling out an application to make sure you’re on the same page. A company’s representatives should be fully trained to answer your questions honestly and respectfully. If not, you might be getting a preview of your relationship with that company.
Get a quote and apply
The Haven Term policy, issued by MassMutual, charges a rate that corresponds to someone’s personal gender identity, regardless of what gender that person was assigned at birth. This might, of course, affect your rate — as mentioned above, men typically pay a higher premium than women. (Again, except in Montana.)
Your full medical history will be reviewed as part of the underwriting process. That means you should be candid and disclose upfront any and all medications or surgeries (both related and unrelated to a gender transition). And you should disclose related or unrelated medical issues like depression, anxiety or high cholesterol. Don’t worry, the medical information you share with Haven Life is not shared outside the underwriting process and will be kept secure.
So get a personalized quote and see if term life insurance coverage is right for you.
Coverage is subject to underwriting approval.
Haven Life Insurance Agency offers this as educational information only. Haven Life is an online life insurance agency offering term life insurance issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Haven Life does not provide legal advice, and this information should not be relied upon as such. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own legal advisors.
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