August 15th, 2008
In June we noticed that Insure.com, an online insurance broker, was making false and defamatory statements about gay men in two of his articles. Specifically, the articles – which were written by Insure.com staff – relied on a non-representative AIDS study from the early 90’s and fraudulent “researcher” Paul Cameron to claim “the life expectancy of gay males to be at least 20 years below average”.
We brought this to the attention of Bob Bland, Insure.com’s CEO, and provided careful documentation and resources to show that he and his site were relying on Paul Cameron’s fraudulent “research” and on deliberately misstated conclusions from an HIV study at the height of the AIDS crisis. Bland promised to look into the situation.
After several inquiries and after the statements stayed up on Insure.com for another six weeks, we deduced that Bland had no intention of verifying our information or of removing the denigrating lies. So we brought the site and its claims to your attention.
In response, Bob Bland angrily accused us of wanting to “bash” him and his business. He also tried to equate orientation with HIV status and stood by Cameron’s dishonesty and his site’s defamatory falsehoods stating that he had “no intention of ‘taking (it) down’ because it contains no factual errors and no editorial bias or slant whatsoever.” For which we awarded him and his company the Certified Cameronite Award.
Now it appears that Bland has become better informed.
Gone is the article claiming that gay men die 20 years younger than their counterparts and in it’s place is one that purports to address The life insurance outlook for HIV-positive gay men.
In short, the life insurance outlook for HIV-positive gay men is identical to that of all HIV-positive persons, whatever their gender or orientation. Persons diagnosed with HIV are categorically turned down when wishing to purchase life insurance. While there is clear indication that HIV infected persons are living longer and that this may not be the death sentence that it once was, insurance companies treat HIV infection like heart disease, breast cancer, and other life threatening diseases: with denial.
But as for sexual orientation, this is not a question asked by insurance companies. Which clearly irks the author of Insure.com’s latest piece.
Life insurance pricing is all about assessing “risk,” but so far no life insurance company has taken the leap to collecting information on MSM and judging them to be engaging in “risky behavior.” Information on individual MSM behavior wouldn’t be verifiable, anyway.
Amusingly, Bland and his insurance site are only able to think of gay persons in terms of sex. His article is all about “behavior”, never acknowledging that gay people are defined by their attractions, not by what they do in bed.
And Insure.com isn’t content with providing information about life insurance coverage but feels it necessary to try and equate homosexuality and HIV infection.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states in a June 2007 report, “HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men,” that men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 71 percent of adult and adolescent males diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2005, thus rendering them ineligible for life insurance coverage at any price. Five to 7 percent of adult and adolescent men identify themselves as MSM, according to the report, so obviously MSM have a much higher risk of contracting the disease — they are anywhere from 32.5 to 46.5 times more likely than other men to be diagnosed. But insurance companies check for the disease, not the behavior.
Missing from that rant is the fact that while HIV is far more prevalent on a pro-rata basis within the gay community, about 88% of gay men and virtually all gay women are HIV-negative.
It’s very evident that Insure.com and its CEO Bob Bland remain dedicatedly anti-gay. And I continue to strongly encourage those persons who are gay and those who have a gay family member or coworker or neighbor or friend to avoid giving their business to an enterprise composed of those who so clearly wish ill of gay men.
But I cannot insist that Bob Bland favor equality and I cannot insist that Insure.com say only favorable things about their gay neighbors. Decency is a way of life that we each choose to adopt or reject. And those who seek to make smearing insinuations do so under a freedom that I cherish.
However, I am also grateful that Insure.com has ceased making statements that are flat-out lies and commend Bland on the removal of Cameron’s bogus “statistics” from his site.
Aug 15: Insure.com Pulls Cameron Quotes
Jul 17: Certified Cameronite: Insure.com
Jul 14: Insure.com CEO Defends Paul Cameron
Jul 11: Insure.com’s CEO Bob Bland Responds
Jul 11: Insure.com’s Anti-Gay Propaganda
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