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Discrimination In Burial Insurance Policies

Burial insurance companies are being investigated by state insurance commissioners for charging Blacks higher prices than Whites.

In the South Blacks have been paying one-third more than Whites for certain types of burial policies.

Reportedly, outlaw insurance companies use separate rate books, one for Whites and one for Blacks. Even though this practice has been illegal for decades, a number of companies continue to collect higher premiums from African-Americans.

Recently, the Florida Insurance Commissioner announced a settlement involving American General Insurance, one of the Nation's largest insurers. The company agreed to pay in excess of $200,000,000 to more than 2 million Black Americans from whom it had collected excessive and illegal premiums.

Four other companies ­ United Insurance Company of America, Monumental Life Insurance, Liberty National Life Insurance Company and Life Insurance Company of Georgia ­ are under investigation by the Florida AG for similar discriminatory practices.

Burial policies were sold primarily to Blacks and low-income customers to purportedly cover the costs of their customers' burials. The policies are often worth less than $1,000. However, Black customers routinely paid more over the life of the policy than the actual worth of the policy. People who purchased policies decades ago are still paying premiums.

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