Lawsuit Filed Against Iowa-based Insurer for Churchgoing Christians

November 29, 2007

Two fair-housing groups have sued an Iowa insurance company that pays policyholders’ church tithes if an injury at home leads to lost income.

The insurance company also doubles medical limits if someone is hurt while involved in a church-related activity at the insured person’s home.

The National Fair Housing Alliance Inc. of Washington, D.C., and Fair Housing Associates Association of Akron filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court against GuideOne Mutual Insurance Co. of West Des Moines, Iowa. The insurer denied any discrimination.

The lawsuit asked the court to find the insurer’s practices discriminatory, order a halt to the practices and award unspecified monetary damages. The insurer offers preferential treatment to Christians and offers special policy terms only to churchgoers, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, GuideOne pays a person’s church contributions up to $750 if an injury suffered at home leads to lost income.

Tom Farr, the general counsel for GuideOne, said its FaithGuard home insurance was not discriminatory and said the lawsuit was without merit.

“GuideOne makes this product available to everyone,” he said in an e-mail. “No one has ever been denied the product based on church membership or attendance.”

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