AIDS and insurance law: a preliminary laundry list of issues

The financial pages in South Africa’s daily newspapers often contain a doomsday scenario painted by the insurance industry in the face of the AIDS phenomenon. According to this industry AIDS poses an unprecedented challenge to life insurers. The present author examines why AIDS is seen as such an ‘unprecedented challenge’ to the private insurance industry. He draws up a laundry list of issues, and shows that the laundry is rather dirty. To place the issues in their proper context, he starts by asking the question ‘What is insurance all about?’. Then he shows that in the insurance context AIDS presents an unprecedented challenge, in particular to the person infected with HIV. This challenge is the result of the possible manipulation of the common-law principles relating to insurance and the response of the industry and the public sector to the AIDS phenomenon. Finally, the author suggests two alternative ways to clean the dirty laundry: the first is to allow HIV testing but to admit the applicants rejected by the private insurance industry to a public insurance scheme established for this purpose; the second option is to ban HIV testing, to allow the exclusion of AIDS and HIV-related claims in insurance policies, but to cover these claims by a public insurance scheme. Notes, ref.

Title: AIDS and insurance law: a preliminary laundry list of issues
Author: Visser, Coenraad
Year: 1993
Periodical: South African Journal on Human Rights
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Pages: 130-142
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://doi.org/10.1080/02587203.1993.11827898
Abstract: The financial pages in South Africa’s daily newspapers often contain a doomsday scenario painted by the insurance industry in the face of the AIDS phenomenon. According to this industry AIDS poses an unprecedented challenge to life insurers. The present author examines why AIDS is seen as such an ‘unprecedented challenge’ to the private insurance industry. He draws up a laundry list of issues, and shows that the laundry is rather dirty. To place the issues in their proper context, he starts by asking the question ‘What is insurance all about?’. Then he shows that in the insurance context AIDS presents an unprecedented challenge, in particular to the person infected with HIV. This challenge is the result of the possible manipulation of the common-law principles relating to insurance and the response of the industry and the public sector to the AIDS phenomenon. Finally, the author suggests two alternative ways to clean the dirty laundry: the first is to allow HIV testing but to admit the applicants rejected by the private insurance industry to a public insurance scheme established for this purpose; the second option is to ban HIV testing, to allow the exclusion of AIDS and HIV-related claims in insurance policies, but to cover these claims by a public insurance scheme. Notes, ref.