The ABI has proposed the Government abolishes exemptions for insurance companies to treat married couples and customers in civil partnerships equally.
The Equality Act Regulations 2007 allow providers to treat customers differently on grounds of their sexual orientation.
However, a statement from the ABI says: “The ABI supports the proposal that this exemption does not continue beyond the end of 2008. Many companies already treat Civil Partnerships in the same way as marriages. All companies will do so as soon as possible and certainly by the end of August 2008.”
Nick Starling, the director of general insurance and health at the ABI, says: “The insurance industry is united against discrimination and in support of treating people fairly.
“Insurers base their treatment of all customers on a fair and objective analysis of the risks they represent. It is sensible to differentiate, for instance, in the case of age or gender.
“But we do not seek exemptions where there is no case for one; there is no need for the law to provide for different treatment between Civil Partnerships and marriages.”
The proposal will form part of the ABI's detailed response to the Government's current consultation on its Discrimination Law Review.
Chris Morgan, a member of the ABI’s expert working group on HIV and Insurance, comments: “The HIV and Insurance guidelines introduced by the ABI require insurance companies to treat gay men fairly when applying for life assurance products already. Therefore, the exemption contained within the new legislation should be removed.”
A spokesman from gay rights lobbying group Stonewall says: “Stonewall supports the ABI’s proposal to abolish this exception. We trust the Government will repeal it at the earliest opportunity. Insurance premiums should be based on someone’s behaviour rather than their sexual orientation.”
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