global insurance management

Equality and Signposting


May 09 2012

Equality and Signposting

There is a piece of legislation that started to come into force from October 2010 that has not caused great changes within the financial services industry - until now.

When it was introduced, The Equality Act 2010 replaced and simplified over 100 separate pieces of previous anti-discriminatory Acts and regulations. 

The FSA recently included a pointer in its March edition of the Regulation Round Up, highlighting two items of note for firms:

  • As an employer;
  • As a service provider;
  • - not to unlawfully discriminate in areas such as recruitment, pay, benefits or training, and
  • - to consider means of removing or avoiding any obstacles to a product or service.

As a consequence of the Equality Act, one notable aspect is the work done on what might be seen as unjustifiable age discrimination in the provision of goods and services; in particular motor and travel insurance.

Central Government is to provide an exception that will allow age to be used as a factor in assessing risk and in turn hopes to improve consumer confidence in the pricing of motor and travel insurance.

Details are contained in a recently published, non-statutory agreement between the Government, the ABI and BIBA, effective from 06 April 2012 and where the objectives are:

  • to improve access to private motor and travel insurance where age limits are used; and
  • to improve transparency when using age to assess risk and pricing.

A copy of this agreement can be found on:

www.abi.org.uk and http://www.biba.org.uk/UploadedFiles/418agreement.pdf

And that is where Signposting comes in.

Where firms are using maximum age limits for motor and travel insurance, the agreement requires them to refer people aged above that maximum limit to a provider or suitable signposting service that can meet their needs.

All ABI members will adhere to the agreement as a condition of membership and all BIBA brokers will also undertake to comply with this agreement. Non ABI and BIBA members will be asked to follow the agreement on a voluntary basis.

Helpfully, the ABI is to publish a list of member firms participating and BIBA’s “find a broker” helpline and website services provides a recognised Signposting service.

In addition, the ABI will publish annual aggregate data showing claims costs under motor and travel insurance broken down by age ranges. BIBA will publish details of the enquiries to the BIBA ‘Find a Broker’ service.

So, if you are one of the firms caught up in this area of insurance cover, you may need to have a look at the process you have in place for your staff to follow where these circumstances arise.

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