Race Based Underwriting and the Death of Burial Insurance
Summary of Discussion – Conversation
The century-long effort to outlaw race-based pricing practices in the insurance industry illuminates the challenges faced by those who sought reform of this ‘modernized’ private commercial practice. During the Jim Crow era, life insurance companies doing business in newly emerging markets began categorizing blacks as ‘substandard’ mortality risks. Adopted after the rise of scientific racism and rationalized during the ascendancy of the eugenics movement, these race-based practices became firmly entrenched in the life insurance industry.