The Hartford Adds Genetic Discrimination to EPL Coverage

June 7, 2005

Federal law bars discrimination based on age, race, gender and other protected characteristics. Now, as a result of advances in technology and action in Congress, “genetic makeup” may be soon be added to that list. The change in law may require a re-working of many insurance policies reports The Hartford Financial Group.

In response to the U.S. Senate vote to establish the category in S.306, The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has adopted an endorsement for its Employee Practice Liability (EPL) policies that affirmatively grants coverage to protect employers from allegations of this type of discrimination. The new endorsement is now part of the insurer’s stand-alone policies for larger companies and EPL policies that are part of its Private Choice Encore! management liability package.

The 98-0 Senate vote on Feb. 17 approved a bill that would provide protection for employees who refuse to have genetic testing because of fears the results might cost them their health insurance, or even their job. While a related bill, H.R. 1227, is in committee in the House of Representatives and the probability of its passage is unclear, The Hartford recognized a potential gap between its customers’ coverage and evolving federal law, and acted fast to ensure protection is clearly spelled out.

“Businesses buy EPL insurance with the expectation that it will provide protection against allegations of discriminatory employment practices, but employment laws are changing every day,” said Paul Sullivan, vice president at The Hartford’s Hartford Financial Products division.

Hartford’s EPL Genetic Makeup Endorsement amends the definition of wrongful act to include discrimination based on an individual or group’s genetic makeup, or discrimination based upon an individual’s refusal to submit to genetic testing.

“Today’s challenging business, legal and regulatory environment, makes state-of-the-art EPL coverage particularly important to handle potentially large employment-related losses. The Hartford provides this coverage, supported by a team of underwriting professionals around the country known for their expertise and integrity,” Sullivan said.

For more information about Private Choice Encore!, stand-alone EPL, brokers or agents can visit or call Patricia Fitzgerald at (212) 277-0457. Coverage is provided by the member companies of The Hartford and may not be available in all states.

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