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Travelers Settles Section 8 Suit in D.C.

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) announced Friday a settlement of a lawsuit against Travelers Indemnity Company that prohibits the denial of insurance coverage to D.C. landlords with Section 8 tenants.

Though Travelers maintains it didn’t break any laws, the company will pay $450,000 to NFHA for damages, costs and fees, and agrees not ask prospective landlord clients about their residents’ source of income.

Additionally, Travelers will provide training to employees involved in the sale or underwriting of insurance for rental properties.

NFHA filed suit against Travelers in May 2016 after uncovering its policies that denied insurance to landlords who rented to voucher recipients, alleging that these practices violated the Fair Housing Act’s and D.C. Human Rights Act’s prohibitions on race and sex discrimination, as well as the D.C. law’s prohibition on source-of-income discrimination.

In D.C., Housing Choice Voucher, or Section 8, participants are largely Black and women-headed households with children, the NFHA said.

“This is a victory for landlords and the residents of Washington, D.C.,” said Shanna Smith, NFHA president and CEO. “The actions of Travelers disproportionately harmed low-income African Americans and women-headed households who use Housing Choice Vouchers. … This settlement sends a message to all insurance companies that they cannot discriminate against voucher holders or landlords who rent to them.”

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