Industry demands exemption from age discrimination rules

Industry demands exemption from age discrimination rules

Representatives from the travel and insurance industries are demanding exemptions from age discrimination regulations in the Equality Bill, which was published on Monday.

As reported by Travel Weekly there are fears that, if age discrimination in the provision of goods and services remain part of the bill, age-specific holidays such as Club 18-30 and Saga packages could become illegal.

Insurers also fear it will make insurance too expensive and complicated for travel agents to sell.

Earlier in April, Government Equalities Office parliamentary secretary Maria Eagle, sought to reassure opponents of the bill in a written answer.

She said: “The legislation will not prevent different treatment on the grounds of age in the provision of insurance, where this is based on actuarial evidence. Nor will it prevent holidays for particular age groups.”

But according to Saga head of communication Paul Green, the statement offered no guarantees for the travel industry. “The government have indicated that they will allow age-related holidays – but they need to have that common sense exemption in the actual Bill, rather than relying on secondary legislation. As it stands, ministers’ words and actions are not aligned,” he said.

The Association of British Insurers expressed similar concerns.

“Insurers oppose unfair discrimination. But outlawing the use of age would lead to higher insurance costs for all customers, as insurers would have insufficient information to fully assess the risk, and less choice for consumers,” said director of general insurance Nick Starling.

“We dispute the government’s claim that one in five older people have trouble getting motor or household insurance. Our research shows 99% of older customers can obtain motor insurance, with 98% able to buy travel insurance. We will be monitoring secondary legislation carefully to ensure insurers remain able to offer competitively priced products to all ages.”


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