Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Equality Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:31 am on 9th June 2009.

Alert me about debates like this

Nick Starling: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to demonstrate that I can actually speak. Age is an extremely important risk factor in insurance. It is vital that insurers can carry on differentiating by age. I wish to give two examples: an 18-year-old driver is 10 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than most of the people in this room. Similarly, an average claim of a traveller aged more than 65 is about three and a half times the cost of that of people in this room. Age is an extremely important factor in pricing insurance, and it is important that insurers can continue to do that. You would think that there would only be a need for the Bill to act on age if the market were not working, and we think that it demonstrably is working. There is a wide availability of insurance for people of all ages.

Our concern is that, under the Bill, insurers would be required to “write across the range of ages, whatever their business model”. For example, they would have to offer a quote for an 18-year-old in a sports car and a 108-year-old, whatever the circumstances. The industry benefits from the fact that it is competitive. It has the ability to concentrate on particular market segments. Some insurers concentrate on older travellers, some insurers concentrate on backpackers and there are insurers who offer lifestyle pension products and so forth. The fundamental basis for insurance needs to continue.

We recognise the difficulty of access to insurance, particularly for older people, and that is one thing that we are keen to address. I cannot comment on Mr. Howell’s particular constituency problems. I suspect that there are issues other than age involved in that sort of premium. The issue is that of enabling people to access the insurance that we know is out there, rather than forcing insurers to offer particular products in particular circumstances.