What has sexuality got to do with a life insurance application?

Lets call out the elephant in the room - stigma and discrimination is an effective barrier to many LGBTI people getting financial advice - and this is why Lets call out the elephant in the room - stigma and discrimination is an effective barrier to many LGBTI people getting financial advice - and this is why

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

  • Life Insurance companies traditionally haven't designed their products and services with LGBTIQ 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.

Jump Ahead

  • 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', many afvisers are often unable to move forward productively and become more and more defensive when this strategy does not lead to improved outcomes for the community.

'If we're truly going to embrace ethical practice, financial advisers must continually reflect and challenge their beliefs, or we run the risk of inadvertently causing harm to our clients, our community and our profession'. Drew Browne

The problem for many LGBTIQ people and our Allies, is the open conversation about the value of life insurance doesn’t even have a chance to start.

This means many people never get the opportunity to own a life insurance policy and understand;

  • how a specialty life insurance policy can protect their major financial risks
  • provide for their families - whether that’s biological or logical, and
  • help them plan for a safer more predictable future

It's the reason why LGBTIQ people and our Allies use Unusual Risks Insured to get their personal insurance sorted.

Facing the reality of stigma and discrimination in Australian financial services - a barrier to Good Advice

Today, stigma, bias, and discrimination in financial services is an insidious barrier to many LGBTIQ people wanting to access financial advice and many find themselves disadvantaged by a system that sees everyone as the same.

  • People and their families living in remote and rural communities face additional unique discrimination and stigma concerns as do those living in the predominantly Marriage Equality 'No Vote' areas of the Western suburbs.

The sad reality is many of the problems facing minority communities are still incredibly grey.  

Judgmental and selectively intolerant behaviours towards us cannot simply be managed with the window dressing of more ‘new’ professional financial adviser standards.

The Bridge to Good Financial Advice

The team behind Unusual Risks Insured stepped into the specialty 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? — A lot and here are four simple key reasons why

1. The extent of the questions we're asked during a life 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 your sexual identity is never asked, 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 or persons  you choose to be your life insurance policy beneficiary, may be recorded in the policy documentation.

A conversation about who you might want to 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.

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.

Where there's a Will there’s a Relative

The sad experience for many LGBTIQ 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.

  • The safest way to guard against this nightmare becoming your reality is to nominate a policy beneficiary (and we'd love to help you out with that too).
  • 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.

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 modern practical Privacy concerns

LGBTIQ peoples' specific concerns about their information privacy are not typically understood (or equally valued) by the traditional heterosexual financial adviser community.

In the LGBTIQ community people understand;

  • Not everyone is Out, Out equally, wants to be Out, or even identifies as LGBTIQ 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 cultural circle.
It's just easier to work with Unusual Risks Insured and avoid the mess altogether.Drew Browne - Founder Unusual Risks Insured

When you're ready to get your life insurances policies sorted (and your Wills, Powers of Attorney and even a Mortgage or a Debt Consolidation and Refinance) we can help you with every step so you can make some fabulous decisions.

Where to now?

  Read about our range of Services. See Our Services.

  Learn about how our process works. See How It Works.

  Have questions? See Frequently Asked Questions.

  Ready to know if we can work with you? Take our Anonymous Pre-assessment.

Drew Browne

Drew specialises in helping people protect and provide for what matters most in their lives. He's an award-winning writer, speaker, financial adviser and business strategy mentor. His company Sapience Financial is committed to using business solutions for good in the community. In 2015 his company certified as a B Corp. and in 2017 Drew was recognised in the inaugural Australian Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow national awards. He writes for successful Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs at Smallville, his blogs can be read on Amazon.com and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Any advice provided is general advice only and we have not considered your personal circumstances. Before making any decision on the basis of this advice you should consider if the advice is appropriate for you based on your particular circumstance.