What has sexuality got to do with a life insurance application?
The simple answer is — Not much.
The honest answer is — A lot more than you'd think.
That's why LGBTQI+ people and our Allies use Unusual Risks Insured to get their personal insurance sorted.
- Life Insurance companies traditionally haven't designed their products and services with LGBTQI+ people in mind and tend not to consider the needs of diverse communities.
- Research shows when service providers assume their clients are heterosexual and use heterosexist language, this can result in discomfort, alienation, and even ongoing discrimination against a significant part of the broader Australian community, their families and friends.
- Financial Advisers traditionally struggle to deal with differences and diversity, and when challenged about issues of stigma, bias and discrimination in financial services, they protest saying, ‘but we treat everyone the same,’ and hope the discussion stops there.
Crouched in a 'not my fault stance', they're often unable to move forward productively and become more and more defensive when this strategy does not lead to improved outcomes for the community.
The problem for many LGBTQI+ people and our Allies, is the conversation about the value of life insurance and financial advice doesn’t even have a chance to start.Drew Browne Founder Unusual Risks Insured
This means many people never get the opportunity to own and understand;
- How a specialty life insurance policy can protect their major financial risks
- Help them plan for a safer more predictable future, and
- Provide for their families - whether that’s biological or logical
The reality of discrimination in Australian financial services
Today, stigma, bias, and discrimination in financial services is an insidious barrier to many LGBTQI+ people wanting to access financial advice and many find themselves disadvantaged by a system that sees everyone as the same.
- The United Nations warns HIV stigma prevents people from accessing health services, increases social exclusion with one in four people living with HIV experiencing discrimination in healthcare settings.
- This same prejudice and discrimination acts as a barrier to many PLWHIV and LGBTQI+A+ people and reaching out for financial advice.
The sad reality is many of the problems facing minority communities are still incredibly grey. Judgemental and selectively intolerant behaviours towards us cannot simply be managed with the window dressing of more ‘new’ professional financial adviser standards.
A barrier to Good Advice
The lack of equal access to relevant financial advice has prevented many LGBTQI+ people from seeking the financial advice they need to protect, plan and provide for themselves and their families.
- The one-size-fits-all approach of assumed heterosexuality and the expectation ‘a clients' partner is always the opposite sex,’ are just some of the many practical problems that can make people feel invisible, despite their personal insurance needs.
The bridge to Good Advice
This is why the team behind Unusual Risks Insured stepped into the financial advice market in 2015 to be the change we wanted to see in the professional world around us.
So what’s sexuality really got to do with a life insurance application?
Here are four simple key reasons why
1. The extent of the questions asked during an insurance application interview
Making an application for life insurance is one of the very few situations in life where detailed questions and disclosures about a person's health and lifestyle (and gender) form an integral part of the required application process.
- While you are never asked to disclose your sexual identity, questions about your sexual health are.
Most importantly, these questions also carry a formal Legal Duty of Disclosure requiring a full and frank disclosure; and non-disclosure is legal grounds for every insurance company to deny a future claim.
2. The policy beneficiaries we choose
When you own a life insurance policy, you can choose who you nominate as your policy beneficiary.
- This means the name, date of birth and contact details of the person(s) who you choose to be your policy beneficiary, may be recorded in the policy documentation.
Having the conversation about who could be your life insurance beneficiary
A conversation about who you might choose to be your life insurance policy beneficiary — for example, your spouse, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, child or other — these conversations can trigger a homophobic response with an assumed heteronormative expectation that a spouse or partner should always be the opposite sex.
- It also raises valid concerns about your privacy and the safety of your personal information.
Why is nominating a person as your policy beneficiary important?
Nominating who will be your policy beneficiary is important otherwise your life insurance payout could be paid to your general estate and just become part of the general assets in your Will.
- Important: When your estate assets are left to be distributed according to your Will, they're also left open for a legal challenge by your biological family members (estranged or otherwise), people from past relationships, children and others claiming to be financially dependent upon you.
- Making your own policy beneficiary nomination removes this problem.
Let's call out the elephant in the room and say it like it is - ‘Where there's a Will there’s a relative’
The sad experience for many LGBTQI+ people who have lost a partner to an unexpected death is they may suddenly find their partner’s Will and rightful ownership to estate assets immediately contested by estranged biological family members.
- These are usually the people who never accepted you, your life, your partner, your relationships, your choices - and the list goes on - or those who tacitly looked away until the time when money and a Will made them do otherwise.
- We have a solution to this problem too.
The safest way to guard against this nightmare becoming your reality is to nominate a policy beneficiary.
This will avoid a life insurance payout simply going to your general estate ready to be contested under your Will. (Don't have a Will? - no worries, we can help you with that too)
3. Your right to the absolute privacy of your information
While the right to privacy is law in Australia, the practical application of information privacy (and people's attitudes towards difference and diversity) sadly, vary widely.
- At Unusual Risks Insured we are near-fanatical about the security of our client's personal and health information. Our information management systems de-identify sensitive health data from our individual client records and we have a custom-built separate Secure Private Client System for our profile clients who require the absolute highest level of privacy security.
That’s why people from across Australia, in cities, smaller towns or regional communities, those working in sensitive industries, in public life or remote locations, all choose to work with the experts at Unusual Risks Insured to ensure their personal, medical and relational information - all remain private.
4. Managing practical privacy concerns for people in connected communities
LGBTQI+ peoples' specific concerns about their information privacy are not typically understood (or equally valued) by the traditional heterosexual financial adviser community.
In the LGBTQI+ community people understand;
- Not everyone is Out, Out equally, wants to be Out, or even identifies as LGBTQI+ or identifies with its community - and nor should people have to.
- People with diverse genders, intersex status, and sexualities all report feeling significant levels of uncertainty and anxiety about what they may face with an unknown financial adviser and they tell us they're exhausted from having to ‘always be the educator’ to someone in the broader community.
- Business partners who need Insurance policies to protect themselves against business debts, business succession or the loss of a key person to their business, usually have additional Commercial Privacy needs as well.
- People of faith often have additional privacy needs.
- People of faith from culturally diverse backgrounds often have additional privacy and personal security needs not understood by traditional financial advisers, and often feel more comfortable working with an adviser outside their particular cultural or faith circle.
The majority of people we serve simply don't want to share their personal information with a random financial adviser and ‘roll the dice’ and chance the outcome.
It's just easier to work with Unusual Risks Insured and avoid this mess altogether.Drew Browne - Founder Unusual Risks Insured
Where to from here?
- Whether you identify as LGBTQI+ or whether you don't.
- Whether you’re a Straight Ally or whether you’re a ‘no labels’ kind of person and don't see the need to identify as anything but human.
- If you believe everyone is entitled to a fair go, free of discrimination - you’re our kind of person - and we’d love to earn the right to help you get your personal insurances sorted.
Where to now?