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Resolutions & Amendments

28th International Convention - Los Angeles, CA (1988)

Sex Equity in Insurance

Resolution No. 26
28th International Convention
June 20-24, 1988
Los Angeles, CA


Sex discrimination in insurance affects the availability of insurance to women and the rates and benefits. Because Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers only terms and conditions of employment, insurance companies freely discriminate against women in the rates, benefits, and availability of individually purchased auto, health, disability, life insurance and annuities. As a result of this discrimination women are charged more for the same coverage and/or receive less benefits than men receive for the same price; and


Despite the insurance industry's claim that the use of sex as a factor in setting rates and benefits is necessary because of statistical differences between men and women in life expectancy, driving records and health risks, the facts are that gender is used in an arbitrary, inconsistent fashion and that there are other gender-neutral indicia of risk that could better be used. For example even in auto insurance where women of all ages have significantly lower accident rates than men, the slight advantage in premiums paid by young women in comparison with young men is still more than the premium charged adult men despite the fact that young women have fewer accidents than adult men. Premium rates for life insurance do not reflect the full cost reduction due women based on male-female difference in life span, but the industry uses the full life span differential in calculating monthly annuity payments, again minimizing the benefit to women; and


The state of Montana is the only state with a comprehensive law proscribing gender-based discrimination in all forms of insurance and several other states have prohibited discrimination in auto insurance. These laws have not had the dire consequences predicted by opponents. Rates have not skyrocketed for men and companies have not refused to do business in these states. Instead better insurance coverage has become more available at more affordable rates for women; and


The federal government has failed to statutorily prohibit gender-based insurance discrimination.


That this 28th International Convention urges Congress to enact legislation prohibiting gender discrimination in all forms of insurance. AFSCME will work with members of Congress and other concerned organizations to develop such legislation and secure its passage; and


That AFSCME encourages all affiliates to support state legislation requiring gender-neutral insurance rates and benefits.



Jim Mayes, President
Ralph Cook, Secretary
AFSCME Local 2774