Jewish World Review May 7, 2004 / 16 Iyar 5764

Dan Abrams

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Consumer Reports

Insurance companies shouldn't discriminate based on the political environment | Many major insurers have been denying life insurance to anyone who has or will travel to Israel even though by the numbers, Israel is a whole lot safer than most major U.S. cities. Now, there's a bill pending in Congress to prevent that, and a lawsuit against the insurers is pending in the courts.

Generally, insurance companies do and should be able to make determinations based on risk, not politically correct standards. They "discriminate" all the time using models based on gender and age, et cetera, to assess that risk. And while one might expect that to travel to Israel is just downright dangerous, the numbers just don't bear it out. From September 2000 when the Intifada began until today, 667 civilians have been killed in Israel, including the occupied territories, in terror attacks. That accounts for suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, car bombs, even rocks, and only a fraction have been outside the disputed territories.

And yet, that is still far fewer than were murdered in just New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in only six months between January and June of 2003. Israelis on the whole have a higher life expectancy than Americans. Deaths from accidental injury are much higher in the U.S. than in Israel. We shouldn't need legislation or lawsuits. The insurance companies should step up to the plate and look at the one factor they always use, that. they always ask us to consider — the numbers.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 9-10 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.



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