AIDS Activists Issue Safeguards for People With AIDS Who Sell Their Life Insurance Policies

July 1, 1996
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 10 No 7, Volume 10, Issue 7

With the goal of protecting the economic security of people with AIDS (PWAs) who decide to sell their life insurance policies to obtain cash, a group of leading advocates for PWAs met in Los Angeles on March 22 to draft a set of standards

With the goal of protecting the economic security of people withAIDS (PWAs) who decide to sell their life insurance policies toobtain cash, a group of leading advocates for PWAs met in LosAngeles on March 22 to draft a set of standards for viatical settlementcompanies. Following the March meeting, the group of AIDS activistsconducted additional research and conferred frequently. In earlyJune, they issued the final set of standards, a "ViaticalBill of Rights," which they urged every viatical settlementcompany to strictly follow when buying the life insurance policiesof PWAS.

Phill Wilson, chair of The National Black Gay & Lesbian LeadershipForum and former director of public policy for AIDS Project LosAngeles (APLA), served as a member of the group that formulatedthe viatical code. On behalf of the group, Mr. Wilson assertedthat "if you are a person with AIDS and are thinking aboutselling your life insurance policy, you should seek offers froma minimum of three viatical settlement companies, and make surethat the companies you evaluate have signed this important code."

American Life Resources, the oldest viatical settlement companyin the United States, underwrote the efforts of the AIDS leaderswho drafted the "Viatical Bill of Rights." Lenny Bloom,a gay rights and AIDS activist who formerly headed APLA, the nation'ssecond-largest AIDS service organization, and who serves as chairmanand CEO of American Life Resources, said, "I am pleased thatAmerican Life Resources had the vision and the confidence to sponsoran independent group of leaders of many of America's largest andmost effective AIDS organizations. These selfless men and women,who have devoted their lives to championing people with HIV andAIDS, have promulgated a code which, if embraced by viatical settlementcompanies, will go a long way to protect the interests of peopleat a time when they are likely experiencing emotional and financialstress."

"American Life Resources is proud to announce that we willadhere to every tenet of the new standards, and we will assistin the dissemination of these standards to other viatical companies,AIDS service organizations and state insurance commissioners acrossAmerica. I hope and expect that this code will become standardoperating procedure for every viatical company within a matterof months," he added.

The new standards are reprinted in their entirety in the box above.

"The Viatical Bill of Rights" is the work of the followingindependent group of AIDS activists: A. Cornelius Baker, ActingExecutive Director, National Association of People with AIDS;Jacques Chambers, Manager of Insurance & Benefits Counseling,AIDS Project Los Angeles; Pat Christen, Executive Director, SanFrancisco AIDS Foundation; Marc Cohen, Vice President, UnitedFoundation for AIDS; Paul DiDonato, Director of Federal Affairs,San Francisco AIDS Foundation; Jim Graham, Executive Director,Whitman-Walker Clinic; Robert Greenwald, Director of Public Policy& Legal Affairs, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts; R.Scott Hitt, md, Chair, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Board Member,AIDS Project Los Angeles; Mike Isbell, Associate Executive Directorand Chief of Government and Policy Affairs, Gay Men's Health Crisis(GMHC); Larry Kessler, Executive Director, AIDS Action Committeeof Massachusetts: Jean McGuire, Former Executive Director, AIDSAction Council; Phill Wilson, Former Director of Public Policy,APLA, Chair, The National Black Gay & Lesbian Leadership Forum.

Persons interested in obtaining the "Viatical Bill of Rights"can call American Life Resources at 1-800-750-3383 for a freecopy.