A Pension Times reader who has recently celebrated their 70th birthday has written to us after NFU Mutual Insurance refused to provide them with a car insurance quote.
The reader, who wished to remain anonymous, told us that they were looking for a multi-car policy as a new customer to NFU, and had applied directly to the company rather than via a price comparison site or broker.
The reader said they had explicitly been told that their age was the reason NFU would not provide a quote, and that the company had written to them explaining this.
In the letter, which has been seen by Pension Times, NFU mutual wrote:
“Thank you for calling us about getting a car insurance quote. I know it was a shock to learn we wouldn’t insure you. I understand how unhappy you are, and you feel you’re being unfairly discriminated against. I’d like to explain why we believe our policy is fair.
“Why don’t we insure certain age groups?
“We have to think about the level of risk each customer poses. The higher the risk of them having an accident, the more we charge them for insurance. If the risk is too high, we won’t provide insurance at all. Our risk assessments are based on very accurate data, which shows that drivers in your age group present a greater risk than we accept.”
“What the rules say
“We are guided by the Equalities [sic] Act 2010 and the Association of British Insurers’ regulations. These rules say that if a person’s age is a key reason for us refusing to insure them, we have to clearly state this. As you know, we did make it clear to you that your age is the reason we won’t insure you.
“I hope this explains why we won’t provide you with car insurance.”
Equally as concerned as the reader and surprised at the contents of the letter, Pension Times asked NFU Mutual if the company made insurance or underwriting decisions based purely on age and, if so, if there was a specific cut-off point whereby someone would no longer be eligible for its car insurance.
An NFUM spokesperson told us:
“A number of factors go into the decision to provide cover, and at what price, and at NFU Mutual we seek to continually improve how we underwrite these risks so that we are able to offer all customers the best possible products at fair value. Age is one of these factors, but we always consider other features of the risk, such as driving record, claims history and whether they are an existing customer of ours before making a decision.
“Unfortunately, where these factors suggest a higher level of risk, we may not be able to provide cover at a competitive level and may therefore take a decision not to offer cover. Where we are unable to offer a quotation to an individual customer, we provide assistance to help customers locate an alternative provider for their insurance needs.”
Have you been affected by a similar issue when trying to buy car insurance or another insurance product? Get in touch with us at email@example.com to share your experience.