Earlier this year, we announced a new initiative to end breed discrimination in the homeowners insurance industry. Along with major animal welfare groups including Best Friends, the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Humane Rescue Alliance, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement signed on to a new white paper calling for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to investigate the use of breed discrimination lists. As there is a lack of data to support this discrimination, we also ask them to issue a call for national and state-specific data on the risks associated with listed breeds. Read on for a high-level look at the key points in the white paper, as well as an important new resource to support this initiative.
Some Key Points
- The white paper shows there is no scientific evidence or actuarially supported data to prove certain breeds are inherently more inclined to bite than others.
- The white paper cites research indicating that the use of breed lists has a detrimental impact on three groups: uninformed consumers, people of color, and consumers of low or moderate means.
- In regard to breed aggression, the industry relies on CDC research on dog bites that is outdated and unreliable; the CDC itself questions the usefulness of its own study.
- The paper also includes testimony and arguments from veterinary associations, lawyers, animal welfare organizations and dog-specific groups.
What You Can Do
Read the white paper on Breed Discrimination in the Homeowners Insurance Industry (.pdf) and share it with staff, especially those who interact with community members who may be or have been impacted by breed discrimination policies.
The Dogs, People, and Housing Insurance Project has created an easy way to contact local insurance commissioners to report exclusionary insurance practices. The website offers contact info for insurance commissioners, as well as sample letters. And here’s where we in animal welfare come in. While the complaint forms are reserved for people who have been denied coverage, you can contact your local commissioner via email, mail and phone and share instances of members of your community who have been forced to give up their family pet because of these exclusionary and discriminatory policies. Please bookmark this website, and share and discuss with your teams—particularly those doing community outreach and intake.
Photo: Joe Stoltz