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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Discrimination backlash

From the United States comes news of a rash of settlements between life insurers and current and former black policyholders who had been litigating alleged discriminatory pricing. The root of the problem is a well-established historic practice of using higher mortality assumptions for burial insurance sold to blacks than for similar coverages sold to whites. Now the majority view is that the poorer observed mortality of blacks is thought to be mainly the result of external factors such as poverty, inferior medical care, and risky jobs, rather than to racial differences as such.

This news did set your editor’s idle mind to wondering whether there may yet be scope for male life insureds in the UK to sue for unfair discrimination for very similar reasons. What do readers think?