Deal would help older customers get cover; other areas of insurance could follow

Biba is keen to find other signposting areas to tackle after striking a deal with the government and the ABI to help older customers buy motor and travel insurance.

The current signposting deal requires insurers and brokers unable to insure older customers to refer them to firms that can, or to Biba’s ‘Find a Broker’ website.

All ABI members will need to agree to the deal and all Biba brokers are being asked to comply. The agreement came into effect on 6 April.

Biba head of corporate affairs Graeme Trudgill said that the London Market Association also supported the deal, as did some aggregators. He said: “It should become market practice.”

Trudgill said that while Biba members were only being asked to comply, it would be easy to tell if brokers were ignoring the new rules. “If it didn’t work, Age UK would be in touch to say so. They ‘mystery shop’ us all the time. If someone doesn’t do it, it will get back to us.”

Trudgill said Biba now wanted to speak to consumer groups and charities to find other areas of insurance where signposting was needed. But Trudgill said Biba would need to speak to the ABI before announcing any firm plans in this area.

Home secretary and minister for women and equalities Theresa May said: “I fully support the work the ABI and Biba are doing to make it easier for older people to get insurance and provide greater transparency on how decisions are made.”

ABI director-general Otto Thoresen said: “This shows how the industry can work with government to improve transparency, while preserving insurers’ ability to assess and price risk fairly.”

Pass notes: The signposting agreement

Why do insurers treat the elderly differently to younger age brackets?
The elderly are more likely to make claims, and for a higher amount. ABI figures show the average claim made by someone over 65 is nearly three-and-a-half times more expensive than one made by a person under 50.

Which groups drew up the agreement?
The deal was thrashed out by the HM Treasury signposting steering committee, made up of representatives from Biba, the ABI, the Government Equalities Office, Age UK, the FSA, the Human Rights Commission and Which?.