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It’s Not just About Dogs, It’s About People

I’m writing today to ask you for help to keep people and their dogs in their homes — an organizing campaign to reform racist and classist insurance industry policies and to get the word out to the media with personal stories to put pressure on companies and elected officials to reform this practice.

But first a little more background:
Imagine being faced with the choice to give up your home or your beloved pet. It seems unimaginable, yet many Americans face this decision every year. The reason for this is a commonplace yet largely unknown or ignored issue: the insurance industry uses arbitrary dog breed lists to deny homeowners and renters coverage and to discriminate against individuals.
Sadly, people often find out too late about dog breed restrictions, leaving them with a bleak choice: either go underinsured or uninsured or end their relationship with their pet. At a time when so many already face housing insecurity, this issue is going to affect countless more Americans than ever before.

This practice is rooted in racism, classism, and reflects a long history of discrimination in the insurance industry. In fact, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) made a commitment to address racist and discriminatory underwriting practices, stating that “racial discrimination has been part of the insurance sector landscape for more than 250 years.”
We’re writing today to ask you to join us in fighting housing insurance discrimination. How can you get involved?

–Notify your network and the communities you serve about how to take action with your state’s insurance commissioner. If someone has been denied rental housing or homeowner’s insurance because of their dog, they can obtain the information to notify their insurance commissioner by visiting dogspeopleandhousinginsurance.org to share their story directly with the commissioner. The NAIC is committed to protecting insurance consumers from discriminatory practices—let’s take them up on it.

–Help us find stories of people personally affected by housing insurance discrimination, so we can share those stories with the media to put pressure on the insurance industry and elected officials to reform these practices.

We can offer help with outreach language, templates, and a flyer, as well as assistance with local media outreach. Please let us know if you would like to set up a time to talk or would like more information by email.

The Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) is a nonprofit organization that brings dogs and people together to end discrimination. AFF recently launched the Dogs, People, and Housing Insurance initiative to fight insurance denial based on breed restrictions.
–Judy Klym

Circle Up Indy

Founded in 2003, Circle Up Indy is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing violence by connecting people with existing resources, collaborating with other organizations, and creating new resources and programs.