Activists plan to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), alleging discriminatory practices while obtaining life insurance policies, demanding policy changes to make insurance more inclusive.
The United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 25 recognizes that the disabled should enjoy the highest standard of health without facing discrimination, and the states ought to 'prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner.'
"We have seen many cases where people are denied life insurance because of disability, or are charged a higher premium. I faced the problem myself, and I have also seen cases when there are problems in family insurance, where the disabled child is not included in the policy," says Smitha Srinivasan from the Disability Legislation Unit(DLU) of Vidya Sagar, Chennai.
Some disabled persons said they were often asked to take the policy in somebody else's name. A 45-year-old from Chennai who suffered from a spinal cord injury that prevented him from walking, said that when he was approached by agents, they asked him to take a policy in his wife's name as he would not clear the medical test. His wife did not have to clear any medical test. They wanted equal rights and if not extra benefits.
According to a member of the All India Insurance Employee's Federation, there would be no discrimination against a person on the basis of their disability in providing a policy, though the premium charged would be higher according to his medical condition. "Our doctors would conduct an examination, and based on age and medical factors, the premium would be decided according to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) guidelines," he said. "We will file a PIL on the fixing of extra premium, on family insurance and on accident cover which disabled persons do not get.
Source: Archita Suryanarayanan