BURGESS: No Blacks, No lrish, No Jews

Ryan Fowler

August 4, 2014

In a damning letter to the chief regulator seen by Mortgage Introducer the director of British Money demands an explanation as to ‘why the FCA appears to be turning a blind eye to the institutionalised discrimination which is rife within the financial services sector’.

In the letter to Wheatley Burgess asks why health insurance providers not only discriminate on age and occupation but also discriminate on ‘health by association’ via intrusive medical questionnaires.

He writes: “There is widespread ‘discrimination by circumstance.

“Please forgive the example but if a person who was raped and had to have an abortion failed to disclose this in an application, a future claim would be rejected. How is this fair?

“Discriminating against people for things outside their control is wrong.

“By cherry-picking the best risks, providers are alienating whole swathes of society; people who through no fault of their own are not allowed to purchase cover.

“Outside this sector, such an approach is unthinkable.

“Imagine applying for a job and being told [that] ‘due to the occupations of your parents or siblings, you’re too risky to employ’.

“In the 1950s and 60s it was common for landlords to have notices on their windows or doors stating ‘No Blacks, No lrish, No Jews’.

“At the time this was perfectly acceptable, looking back now, it’s outrageous!

“In years to come future generations will look back, in the same way we do to the 50’s and 60’s, and ask ‘how on earth was this allowed to happen?’

“The EU outlawed gender discrimination [and] you have the power to address these other forms of discrimination. When are you planning to put an end to this apartheid?”

He goes onto say: “By this I mean providers ask for information about the health of other family members and use this as the basis for accepting or rejecting applicants.

“Why should a healthy person in a low-risk occupation be rejected from purchasing cover due to a parent or sibling having a life-threatening illness?”

The FCA declined to comment.

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