Following a report in the New York Times, the New York Department of Financial Services announced February 14 that it will investigate assertions that life and disability insurers writing in New York denied coverage to persons taking an anti-HIV drug, Truvada, as a means of preventing the onset of AIDS. The Superintendent of DFS stated that such denials would be considered evidence of illegal discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Section 4224 of the New York Insurance Law prohibits “unfair discrimination” by life and health insurers and where sound actuarial justification for such discrimination is absent. Section 63(12) of the New York Executive Law empowers the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief, and restitution and damages, against any business engaged in repeated illegal acts.

Clients writing life, disability, and long-term care policies in New York are subject to being examined by the Department and investigated by the New York Attorney General for potential discriminatory denials of coverage to persons taking Truvada. Those clients may find it advisable to undertake immediate steps to completely retain and comprehensively review their underwriting records, including all relevant e-mails and inter-company communications, to determine the extent to which such denials of coverage occurred.