Aetna Apologizes for Slave Insurance

From Associated Press

Aetna Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, apologized for selling policies in the 1850s that reimbursed slave owners for financial losses when those they enslaved died.

“Aetna has long acknowledged that for several years shortly after its founding in 1853 that the company may have insured the lives of slaves,” Aetna spokesman Fred Laberge said Thursday. “We express our deep regret over any participation at all in this deplorable practice.”

Aetna’s public apology was prompted by an inquiry from Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, who contacted the Hartford, Conn.-based company this year to seek an apology and reparations. Farmer-Paellmann, whom Aetna described as a New York attorney, could not be reached for comment.


Aetna, which noted that the slave policies were legal before slavery was abolished, said it plans to make no reparations.

Aetna said its records show the company wrote no more than a dozen such policies to slave owners.

The company said it previously acknowledged having written such policies in a report prepared in 1956.