Desjardins Group has become the first insurer in the country to drop a controversial policy clause.
The Desjardins Group insurance company in Canada has now become the first insurer in the country to drop a clause from its benefits plans that would deny benefit payments to policyholders who have self-inflicted injuries or who have attempted suicide.
The changes to the employee benefits plan have become effective immediately and will apply to at least one client.
At the start of this change, the changes made by the insurance company are taking this controversial exclusion clause out of the employee benefits plan of Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). According to Desjardins strategic advisor, André Chapleau, “This is a very sensitive issue.” He pointed out that the insurer is looking to change the clause in other plans as well, but that other clients have yet to be informed that “certain group policies” will no longer include the discriminatory clause.
It is standard practice for insurance companies to deny payment for any costs associated with self-inflicted harm.
In fact, many standard insurance policies specifically point out that they will not pay for costs linked with self-inflicted injuries of an intentional nature – regardless of whether it was attempted suicide or other forms of self-harm – no matter whether the policyholder was deemed to be “sane or insane” at the time that the event occurred.
According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA), as quoted by CBC which placed this discrimination within insurance policies in the spotlight, this insight prompted “serious steps to move this issue forward.” The CLHIA has since stated that some of its members – it represents most insurers – to consider the removal of the exclusion clauses. It now appears as though many other insurance providers will be following in the steps of Desjardins Group, which took the steps immediately.
Due to the regulations within the insurance industry in Canada, the insurance companies that are now also planning to remove the clauses have not yet been identified. Kate Richards, a CAMH spokesperson explained that “We welcome this action and hope all insurance providers will follow this approach.”