CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Fri. June 5, 2009: Liberty National Life Insurance Co., part of Torchmark Corporation, has been accused of illegally discriminating against Haitian consumers in Florida.
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty on Thursday said the company violated state laws by discriminating in its underwriting practices based on consumers` place of birth and potential travel.
The insurance regulation office said it found 1,053 discriminatory violations at the insurer`s Birmingham, Alabama, office, and a `significant` number of affected consumers were of Haitian descent.
The allegations against Liberty National center on violations of Florida`s Unfair Practices laws: refusal to issue life insurance policies based on national origin; discrimination in underwriting practices based on national origin; discrimination based on potential lawful travel; and discrimination based on citizenship.
The Office`s investigation reviewed, among other things, Liberty National`s underwriting practices, agent-training materials, forms and its new-business issue process. The investigation also revealed instances of improper notice and failure to maintain adequate records.
One aspect of the law, generally referred to as the Freedom to Travel Act of 2006, places strict limitations on the ability of an insurance company to deny life insurance based on past or future lawful foreign travel.
The insurer now has 21 days to show why its license in Florida shouldn`t be suspended or revoked, according to the statement.