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Discrimination in Insurance? Getting the Balance Right

April 25th 2016

On 19 April, Equinet Chair Evelyn Collins (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) participated in a conference entitled ‘Getting the Balance Right III’, designed to openly discuss concerns around unfair discrimination with respect to insurance in the EU.

The conference was organized by the Swiss Re Group, a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer.

Entitled ‘Getting the Balance Right III’, this conference was designed to openly discuss concerns around unfair discrimination with respect to insurance in the EU. The event brought together Members of the European Parliament engaged in tackling discrimination, leaders of national and European age and disability interest groups, top level representation from the European Commission and other international organisations, as well as senior insurance leaders.

The use of age in insurance: necessary or discriminatory?

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Ms. Collins participated in a panel entitled ‘The use of age in insurance: necessary or discriminatory?’, together with Andreas Stein (Head of Unit, Equality legislation, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers), Dr. Matthew Connell (Head of Regulatory Developments, Zurich UK Life) and Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert (Vrije Universiteit Brussels).

Ms. Collins highlighted the fact that, despite the absence of a European Union equal treatment Directive in this field at present, a significant number of equality bodies are vested with the power to address age discrimination in areas beyond the labour market. In total, twenty six equality bodies have a mandate that covers age discrimination beyond employment, including access to insurance. There are numerous examples of situations where people experience unfair practices in insurance due to their age. This includes differential premiums based on age, as well as blanket refusals of insurance services due to age limits for certain services.
Equality bodies support the introduction of protection against discrimination in this area, and they also recognise that age can be a relevant factor – but any difference in treatment on grounds of age should be proportionate and transparent.

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For further information regarding the event, including the full agenda, additional photos etc. please check the Swiss Re website