Several insurance organisations have put out alarmist comments that insurance premiums for some classes, such as travel, could double if the government presses ahead with anti age discrimination legislation. They also say that less insurance will be available.
These comments are purely scare stories with no facts to back up the knee-jerk reaction.
Paul Cann for Help the Aged, says that they are totally missing the point, as the legislation does not propose removing age as a measure of risk, but only where it is used as a blanket exclusion, “Age alone should not be the basis for an insurance premium or quote. Insurers are entitled to make commercial decisions, but these should be based on evidence of risk and not the date on a birth certificate.”
Saga believes that consumers - whether young or old - should not be refused insurance. Paul Green says, “If an insurer does not want to take on the risk on a particular age group then they ought to be compelled to refer people to an independently accredited list of providers who will be able to quote. The issue is about people knowing where to go for cover so they can continue to enjoy life to the full.”
Gordon Lishman of Age Concern says, “The insurance industry is riddled with age-related practices causing significant harm to older people. Many insurers apply upper age limits for travel insurance, leading to older people being cut out of insurance cover. These obstacles mean some older people give up travelling to visit family and friends, or taking part in certain activities that most people take for granted. The insurance industry must start looking beyond age to the underlying factors that really affect risk and offer older people a fairer deal.”
Even Graeme Trudgill of the British Insurance Brokers Association agrees, “BIBA's consumer helpline has assisted tens of thousands of consumers, many of whom have been refused by direct insurers or big name brands. BIBA will continue to work with the Government to ensure a fairer system for older people in the forthcoming Equality Bill. BIBA strongly urges Government to ensure a fair system of risk based pricing."
Travel insurance: News update: 06/03/2009