Car insurance - discrimination continues
Published on 27 September 2012 03:00 PM
21% of people aged 80 plus refused car insurance because they are too old.
85% of people aged 80 plus are not 'signposted' after being refused a quote despite industry agreement.
Age UK research has found that older people still face discrimination when they try to buy car insurance despite a recent agreement intended to protect them.
The agreement* between the Government and the insurance industry was introduced in April this year and says that insurers will 'signpost' customers turned down because of their age to other companies that may be able to insure them.
Yet Age UK research found that 85% of people aged 80 and over were not directed on.
The financial services industry is exempt from recent legislation banning age discrimination in goods and services which comes into force on 1 October. As a result, age discrimination in insurance and other financial services is legally permitted to continue.
Age UK has long argued that the exemption is unfair and the compromise arrangement of 'signposting' does not go far enough.
Age UK's 'mystery shopping' research, carried out by GfK Mystery Shopping, found that 21% of people aged 80 plus were not given phone or online quotes for motor insurance because of their age.
A shocking 85% of those aged 80 plus who were initially refused motor insurance were not referred on to other insurers or the British Insurance Brokers' Association, BIBA, breaking the industry agreement.
The survey involved 205 older people aged 60 and over shopping for phone or online quotes from 39 leading insurance companies.
These results show that the new 'signposting' agreement introduced in April 2012 by the industry trade body, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) does not seem to work effectively. Under the agreement, anyone denied a quote because of their age should be referred to an insurance broker or another provider who might be able to offer coverage.
These findings also suggest that thousands of older people are being denied the right to drive and deprived of their independence, purely on the basis of age rather than actual risk.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said, 'Despite the Government's welcome commitment to end age discrimination, this survey is powerful evidence that it still exists when it comes to getting car insurance. We had hoped that financial services would be included in the new age regulations coming into effect which would have brought a long overdue end to this kind of unacceptable practice.
'We call on the Government to commit to an early review of the exclusion of financial services from the Equality Act so older people are judged on their individual abilities and not simply on their date of birth.'
Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Enterprises said, 'At Age UK Enterprises, our thirty years of experience have taught us that it is feasible to provide successful insurance products to the market without upper age limits or any hidden charges. Having access to more products like this is crucial for many older consumers but unfortunately our survey has found that many older customers still struggle to find appropriate car insurance - this indicates that the signposting agreement doesn't work.'
To find out more about the Equality Act and how it could affect older people and some of the solutions Age UK offers please go to www.ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/discrimination-and-rights/the-equality-act/ And you may find some other relevant pages in this section of the website: www.ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/discrimination-and-rights/ -
Notes to editors
*Transparency and access in motor and travel insurance for older people: An agreement on age and insurance
The research was carried out by GfK Mystery Shopping using mystery shoppers to request quotations either by telephone or online. A total of 205 car insurance requests were made between 8 and 30 August 2012.
Mallary Gelb/ Martin Cairns Tel: 0203 033 1682/ 0203 033 1292 Out of hours: 07071 243 243 27