Insurance Firm Aimed to Ditch All HIV Clients

Judge slams Fortis' 'reprehensible' conduct
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2010 4:48 AM CDT
Updated Mar 18, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
Lawyers say this is the first case found of a firm deliberately singling out HIV-positive clients for rescission.   (AP Photo/Luis Romero)

(Newser) – Insurance giant Fortis used every underhanded method it could to purge HIV-positive clients from its books, according to newly released records. Documents reveal that the company—now known as Assurant—used an algorithm to target every policyholder diagnosed with HIV for a fraud investigation and canceled their policies on the flimsiest pretexts or sometimes for no reason at all, Reuters reports.

The firm's behavior came to light when a teen diagnosed with HIV sued after the firm canceled his policy. The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld a verdict against the firm and ordered it to pay him $10 million. The firm, the chief justice wrote, gambled with the young man's life. It showed "a reckless disregard to his health and safety ," she wrote, slamming the firm's effort to cover up evidence in the case.

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