Under the Equal Status Act 1990 – Life Insurance Companies, (like any other financial services provider) can not generally discriminate – like charging higher premiums, changing benefits, have more stringent underwriting terms between different policy holders on any of the following grounds;
a:Gender (after December 21st, 2012)
i:Membership of the travelling community.
However life companies can discriminate in terms of setting premiums or benefits, underwriting terms, etc. on any of the above grounds (other than gender with effect from 21st December 2012), where the discrimination involved is based on:
1. Actuarial or statistical data obtained from a reliable source e.g. mortality tables,
2. Other relevant underwriting or commercial factors, and (3)
3. Discrimination is reasonable having regard to the data or other relevant factors.
So life companies can charge different premiums by age (older lives are charged higher premiums for the same benefits than younger lives) on the basis that they have reliable statistical information. Data showing that the risk of a life assurance or serious illness claim
varies by age.