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Relman, Dane & Colfax Files Discrimination Complaint Against Travelers Insurance

On May 17, 2016, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) against Travelers Insurance Company, alleging that its denial of “habitational” insurance to apartment owners whose tenants are subsidized through the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program amounts to discrimination on the basis of race, sex and source of income. The lawsuit is the result of multiple investigations by NFHA that uncovered evidence of Travelers’ discriminatory practices in the District.   

Denying insurance coverage to an apartment owner because her tenants have Vouchers is a violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, and has an adverse impact on groups protected by the federal Fair Housing Act. African American households make up 92 percent of District Voucher participants, but only 45.2 percent of all households, in the District. Female-headed households make up 82 percent of Voucher participants, but only 47 percent of all households, in the District.

According to the complaint, comments made by brokers who sell Travelers’ insurance emphasized the presence of tenants who rely on Vouchers as opposed to the quality of the building or condition of the property. For example, NFHA investigators were told:

  • “Wait a minute. Stop right there. Subsidized housing is a problem.”
  • “Travelers won’t write subsidized housing policies.”
  • “…any Section 8 would be a problem” and “Travelers doesn’t want any part of it.”

Morgan Williams of NFHA is co-counsel with Relman, Dane and Colfax.  For further background on NFHA’s investigation, click here.

Noteworthy Pleadings

To read press coverage of the case, click on the link below: