Earlier this decade, some of America’s best-known life insurance companies quietly settled multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuits challenging race-based life insurance rates and benefits. As a result, those companies closed a chapter of American economic history that began after the Civil War with the door-to-door marketing of small individual life insurance policies to poor workers, including former slaves, and their families. The closing of this chapter in history also marked the end of a form of Jim Crow race discrimination largely invisible to the American public.
Mary L. Heen, Equally Insured? Lasting Insurance Industry Reform Came Only With a Rethinking of Race, 23 Richmond L. Mag. (2010).