Jorge Cabrera

State Senator

Jorge Cabrera

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together to Solve Problems

May 24, 2023

Senator Cabrera Leads Senate Passage of Bill Protecting First Responders from Discrimination by Life Insurance Companies

State Senator Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden), Senate Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, led state Senate passage of a bill to protect first responders from discrimination by life insurance companies when diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Senator Cabrera said this is a strong bill that will protect our heroes who work every day to protect us.

Senate Bill 1015, ‘An Act Prohibiting Life Insurance Companies From Discriminating Against First Responders Diagnosed With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,’ now heads to the state House of Representatives for further debate and action.

“The traumatic events our first responders witness in an effort to protect us, provide care and be a calming force during periods of unrest should not be used against them when they are in need of support,” said Sen. Cabrera. “This legislation is necessary. I am proud my colleagues joined me in advancing this out of the state Senate.”

This bill prohibits life insurers from delivering, issuing, renewing, or continuing a life insurance or annuity policy in Connecticut that excludes coverage solely because someone is a “first responder” (e.g., ambulance driver) diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill also prohibits life insurers from taking any of the following actions based on an individual’s status as a first responder diagnosed with PTSD: making any distinction or discrimination against a person in premiums or rates; demanding or requiring greater premiums than from a first responder not diagnosed with PTSD of the same age, sex, general health, and hope of longevity; rebating, discounting, or lowering the benefit amount paid upon death, or similarly requiring heirs, executors, or beneficiaries to accept less than the full payout compared to a similarly situated person. Under the bill, a violation of any of these three provisions is an unfair and deceptive insurance practice under the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act (CUIPA).”

This legislation received support during the public hearing portion of the legislative session with Thomas Burr, Public Policy Manager at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, stating: “We know only too well that people with any sort of serious mental health condition, no matter how well managed, and no matter how long the person has been in recovery, can count on being routinely turned down when trying to acquire any sort of life insurance policy from an insurance company. We get calls on a regular basis from individuals who find this sad fact out when they attempt to apply for life insurance, then subsequently are turned down. Therefore, not only do we feel that an exception by made for 1st Responders with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) diagnosis, but honestly, ANYONE with a mental health diagnosis. While we appreciate the business decisions that must be made, at the end of the day it is all about MANAGING RISK, not avoiding risk completely and denying people reasonable protections that they are willing to pay for. To do otherwise is discrimination, pure and simple, and should not be tolerated in any form in a just and fair society.”

SB 1015 passed out of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee unanimously. If advanced from the House, it will land on Governor Ned Lamont’s desk.