Lifesearch managing director Tom Baigrie has called on the Treasury and the Association of British Insurers to fight against the European Court of Justice’s ruling to ban the use of gender in pricing products.
The court ruled last week that gender pricing for insurance products will be banned from December 21, 2012. This followed an opinion statement from advocate general Juliane Kokott last year saying that risk rating using gender amounted to discrimination.
Speaking at the annual Lifesearch Protection awards in London last week, Baigrie said: “There has been some suggestion that a specific protection trade body could have stopped the ECJ ruling.
“In truth, I doubt anything could. But I do hope that the Association of British Insurers or the Treasury could find a way of challenging this frankly ignorant threat to London’s vital ins- urance market.”
He questioned whether different pricing for men and women was discrimination or simply differentiation based on “mathematically and scientifically proven grounds.”
Baigrie added: “You could ask whether the ECJ’s commitment to the fine cause of equality has perhaps led it to put religion ahead of science and therefore has it more acting like a medieval pope than the libertarian philosopher it aspires to be.”
Baigrie also used his speech to highlight the benefits of independent adv- ice versus protection sold in the non-advised telesales environment.
He said: “It seems most consumers need plenty of comfort and persuasion before making proper protection buying decisions. It is also becoming clear that providing that comfort and persuasion over the phone without giving advice is not honestly possible.
“If providers are still supporting those in that telesales channel, I think what they are doing is known in another trade as aiding and abetting.”
The Lifesearch protection awards 2011 were held last week at the Hiscox Arts cafe in London, The winnners were:
- Best service provider: Axa
- Best underwriting team: Ageas
- Best e-commerce provider: Ageas
- Most improved provider: PruProtect
- Best critical-illness insurance provider: Axa
- Best income protection provider: Unum
- Best new initiative: PruProtect
- The Nick Crossman award for best marketing and communications: LV=
- Best protection story: Life cover at a premium, by Jo Thornhill, The Mail on Sunday
- Best individual impact: Dave Warren, PruProtect
- Best overall provider: Ageas
- Best protection leader: Richard Verdin, Aviva