Monday, January 3, 2011

Q82 Do you think ‘maternity’ should be defined for the purposes of the Sex Discrimination Act provisions covering goods, facilities or services and premises?

8.1 RBS Insurance believes that a definition of ‘maternity’ should be set out in the Sex Discrimination Act for the purposes of goods and services in order to add clarity and avoid other interpretations. In relation to travel insurance, ‘maternity’ should be clearly defined as meaning ‘childbirth’.

8.2 We understand this to be the Directive’s intended interpretation for travel insurance because travel insurers are liable for costs associated with emergency overseas medical claims linked to both pregnancy and maternity. Under a travel policy, once the policy holder returns to the UK, all medical cover ceases as the customer can then be treated under the NHS. There should be no suggestion that a travel policy would pay for any further costs associated with treatment, such as seeing a gynaecologist privately in the UK.

8.3 If the definition of ‘maternity’ were to be defined as twelve months after birth, travel insurers could face the risk of receiving claims for medical treatment associated with the birth up to a year afterwards. Conditions such as vaginal/uterine prolapses and post natal depression are examples of conditions which can occur after birth but travel insurance is not designed to cover in the UK. Travel insurers are also unable to medically risk-assess and risk-rate new mothers for such conditions under the Directive. The result of this could be a general rise in travel insurance premiums for both men and women to counter-balance this increased risk.

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