Age and disability will not go the same way as gender - ABI

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The ABI has said it is "extremely confident" age and disability pricing factors will not go the same way as gender with the incoming EU Equal Treatment Directive.

Nick Kirwan, assistant director of protection, said the body was working hard to ensure wording around age and disability in the current directive draft was not open to the same legal conflict the Gender Directive suffered.

He said: "In hindsight there were many flaws in the wording of the gender directive. For example, clause one and two conflicted and left it open for Belgian consumer body Test Achats to challenge it.

"The UK has its own equality act but European law trumps it. We have been strongly involved from the outset of this equal treatment directive drafting to ensure the wording is clear and unconflicting around age and disability."

Kirwan said Test Achats had brought cases on age to court at national level in Belgium and it would be "interesting" to see the outcome.

He added if there was a future where age and disability were removed from pricing the impact would be significant and much bigger than gender neutrality.

"I do not want to go through our involvement process in the drafting in detail because that would be inappropriate but we have a whole European team focused on this," Kirwan said.

Phil Jeynes, head of account development at PruProtect, said gender neutral pricing was not in the interest of all consumers.

He said: "Age and disability being removed from pricing is way off in the distance now but it was not so long ago we thought the same about gender. It would be foolish not to consider the reality of this."

Kirwan presented on the issue at an Infoline conference yesterday.

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