Male or female? It’s a common question on any insurance application, but for some people, the answer isn’t so straightforward. If you’re helping a transgender client obtain disability insurance, it’s important to know how insurance underwriters approach the issue.
A growing number of young people identify as transgender.
According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, it’s estimated that approximately one million adults in the United States identify as transgender.
This number may be on the rise. USA Today reports that a 2016 study conducted in Minnesota found that nearly 3 percent of high school students identified as transgender. Many of these individuals identify as nonbinary, meaning that they do not identify as either male or female.
Some state and city governments are recognizing nonbinary individuals. According to the Miami Herald, Oregon, Washington, D.C., Washington State, California, Maine and New York City now provide individuals with nonbinary gender options on their birth certificates or driver’s licenses. Individuals may also be able to change their official gender without any medical documentation.
Gender affects insurance rates.
Insurers tend to care a lot about gender. Why? Because the statistical odds of many things, from getting into a car accident to living a long life, are different for men than they are for women.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness, pregnancy is a leading cause of short-term and long-term disability claims. This means that women have a major disability risk that men don’t experience.
Musculoskeletal disorders, which can include arthritis, are another leading cause of disability. According to the CDC, women are more likely to experience doctor-diagnosed arthritis than men.
Considering these statistics, it’s not surprising that women generally pay more for disability insurance.
Many insurers may prefer to use an applicant’s biological gender at birth. However, as more and more states allow a nonbinary gender option on birth certificates, this common practice may be forced to evolve.
Some insurers may provide rates based on the gender the applicant identifies as, especially if this is indicated on legal documents. In some cases, to get the right gender on the application, you may need to contact the insurer and provide additional information or documentation to satisfy their application requirements. It may also be necessary to shop to find an insurer whose policies match your client’s needs.
Gender-neutral policies provide an alternative option. Although many disability insurance policies take gender into account, some insurers do offer unisex policies. These policies may be a good option for clients who identify as transgender or nonbinary.
As with any client, the key is to compare quotes from different insurers to see who can offer the best option for your client’s particular situation. The DIS sales team is here to help. Contact us anytime!