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Equality Bill

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

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Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 11:31 am, 9th June 2009

May I come in briefly on this, because it illustrates whether we are correct in using the word “discrimination”? On Mr. Sheridan’s point, if you have a terminal illness and you know that you have it, clearly you are not going to be able to take out a life insurance policy. That is straightforward and, particularly in relation to age and other types of discrimination, it goes to the heart of what discrimination means. Clearly, an insurer has to have a range of facts at their disposal to price the risk appropriately, and the extent to which you can price the risk appropriately is an issue raised by the Bill. If you cannot price the risk appropriately, will that mean that insurance is available to people? Will insurers then cease to write that business at all? Will you expand on the ability to price risk and particularly on the extension, which is around age?