NZ insurance seekers outraged after companies quiz them over sex lives

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Auckland, Apr. 3 (ANI): People seeking life insurance in New Zealand are outraged after being asked by insurance companies if they have sex with prostitutes.

The country's Privacy Commission has raised concerns over the issue, saying felt they had been asked intrusive or irrelevant questions could complain to the commissioner.

"Questions asked by life insurance companies should not be unreasonably intrusive and must be directly relevant to assessing risk," the New Zealand Herald quoted Assistant Privacy Commissioner Katrine Evans, as saying.

Companies which ask about their clients' sexual behaviour with prostitutes, include BNZ bank and AMP insurance. Those which don't include Westpac, Kiwibank and AA Life.

AMP chief underwriter Geoff Dyer said: "We ask this question as people who are in what is considered "at risk" sexual practices are at greater risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS than those that aren't."

Other commonly asked life insurance questions include whether a person has ever had a sexually transmitted disease, raised cholesterol or a bowel polyp or has ever attempted suicide.

Investment Savings and Insurance Association CEO Vance Arkinstall said: "Some companies will have different views, but there are concerns over sexual preferences of people from time to time and it's born out of the risk of Aids and those sorts of issues."

"Some people do find the questions difficult to answer and in that situation, if you're uncomfortable, well, there are a lot of insurers - go and try another one," he said.

However, Evans said that companies should carefully justify the relevance of including intruding questions in their questionnaire.

"Some illnesses can have a significant impact on whether a person is insurable, or at what premium. It's not immediately obvious, though, that the nature of sexual partners or activities is relevant. Insurers would have to be able to justify this very carefully," she added. (ANI)

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