Insurers win key battle on equality

The debate over how insurance premium rates and policy conditions will be covered by the Equality Bill as it starts its Parliamentary passage in earnest shortly took a useful turn in the insurance industry's favour at the end of the last week.
Similar proposals for wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws have been working their way through the European legislative system and reached the European Parliament last week where they were passed with some important exemptions for banking and insurance included. The ABI was rightly quick to welcome these exemptions which would allow insurers to continue to charge different rates and impose different terms for age, gender or disability so long as the information used in assessing the risks is accurate and relevant. MEPs went out of their way to stress the need for precision.
The UK's Equality Bill is looking to legislate on similar areas and MPs and Peers have already made it clear that there are cross-party concerns about the potential for age discrimination in travel insurance. They will see this demand for precision and accuracy as a way of putting further pressure on the industry to justify the current range of age limits on most travel insurance policies. So, the ABI will have to focus on this area if the positive effect of the European wide approach is not to be frittered away when the same issues are debated in the UK.
As the ABI turns its attention to lobbying on this in the UK it might want to make sure its gets the name of the bill right: it is the Equality Bill, not the Equalities Bill.
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