Press Releases

More than a quarter of LGBT people in Brighton do not trust insurance companies


  • More than a quarter (29%) of LGBT people in Brighton do not trust insurance companies – the highest level of mistrust in UK-wide survey
  • 1 in 6 Brightonians feel insurance companies don’t care about the LGBT community or take account of their needs and circumstances
  • Emerald launchs new travel insurance product designed to meet the specific needs of many LGBT holiday makers
  • Emerald starts roadshow in Brighton to understand LGBT financial services needs

Emerald Life (, the UK’s first full service insurance provider for the LGBT community, today begins a tour of the UK to meet LGBT people and groups, starting in Brighton. Today is also marks Emerald Life’s move into the travel insurance market with a product that for the first time, addresses specific travel needs of the community. This comes at a time when, according to Emerald’s own research, 29% of LGBT people in Brighton say they do not trust insurance companies and is the reason they do not take insurance more seriously. This figure is twice as high as those seen in London and Birmingham and three times as high as those in Edinburgh. Further, this is the number one frustration with insurance companies for LGBT people in Brighton.

Simon Kirby MP has agreed to meet with Emerald's leadership to discuss these findings as soon as parliament returns after summer recess.

The timing of the launch is significant. Available today, new Emerald Life/YouGov research reveals that the LGBT community is driving a boom in overseas travel this summer, yet is alarmingly exposed when it comes to going on holiday with no travel cover. The YouGov study for Emerald Life found that around one in four (25%) members of the LGBT community in Brighton are planning a big overseas holiday in the months ahead (a rise from 17% in the first half of 2016). This is significantly higher than the UK adult population at large (15%), many of whom are re-assessing the cost of an overseas break in the weeks following Brexit and weakening of the pound.

Of greater concern, the findings reveal that only 33% of those from the LGBT community that regularly go overseas on holiday, have a travel insurance policy in place. In total, only 41% of LGBT community members surveyed had any form of travel cover (annual or single trip) – a fall from 55% six months ago. In Brighton, this figure was only marginally higher (47%).

Emerald’s launch of travel insurance today gives the LGBT community access to a simple yet compelling product that covers their financial needs and also responds to community-specific issues that many general insurers overlook or may not even be aware of:

  • Emerald will not automatically charge customers more for medical conditions such as HIV+. The new travel product marks the first step in a journey by Emerald to fight to remove the insurance taboo on HIV that, in many cases, wrongly penalises community members for their HIV status.
  • Emerald will provide a 24-hour helpline if customers are detained, arrested or assaulted abroad because of their sexuality. This service can include in-coutry support if needed.
  • Cover includes same-sex parents, fostered & adopted children, as well as attractive pricing for single parents. In response to feedback from the LGBT community, policies also include cover for surrogate parents bringing a child into the UK for the first time.
  • Emerald’s confidential online medical screening process does not charge more if a customer is transgender; medical risks are treated no differently because a customer is trans.

Other features of the Emerald travel insurance product:

  • Easy, private online application process for pre-existing medical condition assessment.
  • 24/7/365 emergency medical assistance.
  • Thousands of medical conditions available to be covered including HIV, HepB and HepC.
  • Up to £2,000 cover for baggage and personal effects per trip.
  • Automatic cover for mobile phones & other gadgets.
  • Vet fees covered while abroad & additional kennel costs if a customer is delayed returning home.
  • Cover runs for up to 45 days per trip.

Emerald Life hopes its launch into the travel insurance market will help close the ‘insurance gap’ that the LGBT community faces with travel cover. The combination of a comprehensive insurance policy, with purpose-built features for the community, supported by a welcoming and skilled customer service experience, presents the LGBT community with an alternative to general insurers – a place where there are no judgements or awkwardness because of the sexuality of a customer.

Starting in Brighton, the 2nd August also launches the start of a UK tour where Emerald will be going to cities across the UK to talk directly with LGBT communities about their experiences with the financial services industry.

The results above form part of a larger body of research surveying LGBT people in eight UK cities about their lifestyles and their feelings towards the financial services industry as a whole.

Heidi McCormack, CEO of Emerald Life comments: “Our research suggests that LGBT people in Brighton feel a significant lack of trust in financial services, and this needs to be put right. The purpose of our campaign is to listen to people, their concerns and hopes, and understand what it is that needs to change, as well as to let them know that there is an alternative.

“The number of LGBT community members going on holiday without travel cover is alarming and, since our launch earlier this year, we have been working hard to design a travel product that gives the community a reason to look again at travel cover and have confidence in their insurer. From our extensive market research among the community, as well as our visits to meet community groups in cities across the UK, we know many in the LGBT community don’t take insurance seriously, simply because they just don’t get a true equality of experience from their insurer. And this is getting worse. Our latest national research, undertaken this month, suggests only two in five community members say they take insurance seriously.”


According to Emerald’s YouGov research, the top 10 reasons why LGBT community members in Brighton say they don’t take insurance more seriously (July 2016) are:



I don't trust insurance companies



I can't afford it



The lifestyle images portrayed by insurers have no resonance to the life I lead or the choices I make



Insurance companies don't care about the LGBT community



The products take no account of LGBT needs or circumstances



I wouldn't know a good insurance company from a bad one



At my current stage of life my priorities are buying things and enjoying life for the now



I don't think the cost of insurance is fairly priced for HIV+ people



I tend to get short-tempered if I have to spend a long time on the phone



I don't want to have to come out or be asked awkward questions by someone in a call centre



Steve Wardlaw, Chairman at Emerald Life adds: “Insurance is not something that excites a lot of people but most people recognise it is important. The LGBT community has put up with second best for too long from an insurance industry that doesn’t listen hard enough or ask the right questions to our community. With more than two million LGBT adults over the age of 30 living in the UK today, I’m afraid second best with insurance is frankly no longer good enough. At Emerald Life, we are committed to to delivering a true equality of experience to LGBT adults and our travel product is designed to better serve the community – and in this era of inclusion deliver a great product to the community’s straight allies that want to support diversity issues when choosing their next travel insurer.”

For more information or to arrange interviews contact:

James Wharton – Emerald Life


Leadership team biographies, further market research, high-resolution images and a library of case studies are available on request.

Notes to editors

  1. For full details on Emerald’s products visit today.
  2. The research was conducted by YouGov between 5-16 July 2016 among a nat.rep. sample of 512 members of the LGBT community and also 2,000 UK respondents respectively. Further data is available on request.