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Why do some insurers think they are above the law?

Group Risk Development (Grid)

Every time we get new proposals for legislation that improves equality on age and sex, you can guarantee that a trade body, insurer or insurance committee will whine and whinge that the law should not be applied to insurance. 


Not all insurers are so arrogant as to think that they are above the law. I know many in the industry who see no reason why equality laws should not apply to insurance, and enjoy solving the challenges new legislation brings.


A European judgement suggesting that offering different premiums to men and women for life, motor and other insurances has met with a wave of horror across Europe from the insurance industry, to the effect that ‘it is unfair, sex equality will end insurance as we know it’; grow up folks and deal with it. 


Trade body Group Risk Development (Grid) is demanding that the government allow insurers and employers an exemption from retirement age legislation on life, income protection and critical illness products. The ability of an employer to compulsorily retire employees at retirement age, currently 65, is to be removed in law in April 2011. Grid argues that without the exception, insurance will be too expensive to buy.


Think through their argument. You are 64 and employed, and your employer offers life and income protection insurance to protect you and your family should death, accident or illness hit you. You would have retired in late 2011, but the new law means that you and your employer have agreed that you will work for another five years. From 65 you will still be protected by life and income protection insurance. If Grid have their way, from 65 to 70, you will have no life or income protection insurance.


The insurance world gets a bad press. Some of it is deserved, some of it is not. But when any insurance group seeks to argue that equality laws should not apply to insurance, all the hard work by many people in the industry to rebuild the reputation of insurance is wasted.


To Grid and the other whingers I have one message. Stop whining, get off your soapbox and find ways of dealing with new problems –that is what I did as a broker. If you do not enjoy solving the problems that legal and social and technical changes bring – get out of insurance into something less challenging where you can moan all day and cause no harm.


Health insurance: Hot topic: November 2010


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