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Old 06-04-2014, 02:01 PM
CPlusPlus CPlusPlus is offline
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Default Underwriting Transgendered Lives

<I am hoping that this will be a professional discussion of a serious topic and not diverge off into inappropriate territory>

A (non-actuarial) friend recently asked me a question (as an actuary) that I have no idea the answer to. I do not work for a direct writer, but perhaps someone who does has a perspective on this.

How do insurers underwrite applicants for life insurance who are transgendered? Do they only recognize birth gender, or will they underwrite based on the person's identified gender (and the answer to this may differ based on if it is before or after any gender reassignment surgery).

From a purely actuarial view, I can see there being issues in that there probably is not much data collected differentiating the mortality of transgendered lives compared to the rest of the population (assuming such a differentiation even exists). And insurers may be unwilling to underwrite someone who has transitioned from male to female as a female life with so little available data.

That said, from a legal standpoint, rejecting an application for life insurance outright from a healthy person based on their gender identity seems to be (rightly IMHO) opening up the company to a human rights complaint (definitely here in Canada where I am, and I suspect in many states in the US). What isn't so clear to me is if underwriting based on a different gender than the person identifies (or has transitioned to) would be a valid human rights complaint.

I searched both the SOA and CIA websites but found no literature on the topic. Because it's a relatively small proportion of the population I can understand why it's not at the forefront of actuarial research, but it must be an issue that some companies have had to deal with, thus my question.
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Old 06-04-2014, 03:08 PM
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Sex is a biological category based on genetics.

Intersexed people (i.e., having indeterminate sex)are somewhat rare:
http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency

I don't know what they would do for underwriting for people born of one sex who take hormonal treatments to get some of the physical characteristics of the other sex.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:01 PM
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I would give them whatever gender they wanted. I wouldn't want to get in arguement about it that would make the news. I wouldn't expect very many transgendered insureds and think it wouldn't be worth the time arguing.

It would be easier if they lived in Montana.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:09 AM
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You self-report your gender in an insurance application. Nobody checked to make sure I was really a guy when I got insurance, so I don't expect the question would even come up before the person died and had a claim. At which point, as retsamsa points out, the insurance company is not likely to raise a stink because of the potential publicity fallout.

As a side note, though, don't transgendered individuals have a higher suicide rate than pretty much any demographic?
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:36 AM
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pre- or post-op?

More seriously, I figure the trans community is so small, it's not like you have a credible sample of suicides to begin with.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
More seriously, I figure the trans community is so small, it's not like you have a credible sample of suicides to begin with.
Do a case-control study.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CuriousGeorge View Post
Nobody checked to make sure I was really a guy when I got insurance
Health insurance always checks for gender appropriateness real-time for claims.

Couldn't someone come back and deny you life insurance benefits if they think you 'lied' about your gender?

And yes the rate of suicide in transgendered people is sky high.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
pre- or post-op?

More seriously, I figure the trans community is so small, it's not like you have a credible sample of suicides to begin with.
Not all transgender people have or want surgery, especially as the acceptance of a "murky" gender definition grows. So I don't think pre/post op is what makes a difference in suicide rates. Suicide rates are high for T people, but tend to be higher in parts of the country where acceptance is much lower. Another consideration is the risk of violence against T folks. I don't know whether taking hormones has an affect on life span.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:37 AM
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I would think that the genetic causes for males to live shorter than females don't just go away if someone changes their appearance, even with surgery. The underlying genetics are the same. The guys don't get rid of the Y chromozone, the girls don't add it. That being said, it probably doesn't come up often enough to be worth worrying about.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Milgram View Post
Not all transgender people have or want surgery, especially as the acceptance of a "murky" gender definition grows. So I don't think pre/post op is what makes a difference in suicide rates. Suicide rates are high for T people, but tend to be higher in parts of the country where acceptance is much lower. Another consideration is the risk of violence against T folks. I don't know whether taking hormones has an affect on life span.
If one is stuck in a part of the country where acceptance of one's gender presentation is low, I'd assume one doesn't have a lot of extra cash around for life insurance, and is mainly covered by group insurance through an employer, if one is employed to begin with.

I assume taking hormones (for whatever reason) increases incidences of various forms of cancer, but that's not unique to T people.
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