Thursday, March 6, 2008

Equal rights and insurance math

These are two concepts that I didn't think were directly correlated until this morning. On the morning radio news, there was a story about how insurance companies discriminate women, and how there is going to be taken steps to pursue legal action against these male corporate wrongdoers.

The alleged act of discrimination is rooted in one of the originators of this movement figuring out that women pay more for disability insurance than men. The two spokeswomen for this budding lawsuit were interviewed in what appeared to be a coffee bar, with the sound of infants crying as a sonic backdrop. With an eloquence bordering on Moon Zappa in the intro to "Valley Girl" (OhmiGawd - like; gag me with a spoon), the ring leader elaborated on the background. As mentioned above, she was outraged that she had to pay a higher premium for disability insurance because she was a woman, and this was surely a violation against international equal rights legislation, which clearly states that a person cannot be discriminated against based on gender. Besides, she could not see any basis to this, as she was - and I'm paraphrasing here - at least as healthy as any male her age. The government had been informed, and there would be consequences for the evil entities of male domination that is insurance companies.

I have to admit; this really provoked me. Seeing as how we recently bought a house, life insurance suddenly became an issue, and guess what; being male I have to shell out significantly more for life insurance than what a woman in my age bracket would have to. Wait; surely this must violate international law, and I can count on the same group of Equal Rights Freedom Fighters to stand up for my cause? Not really - apparently it was only a problem for this group because it pertained to women. Would you hook a brutha' up.

Ignoring for a moment the blatant double standard this case is based upon; is it really true that when insurance premiums are calculated, there is a massive conspiracy to discriminate women that sets in? A conspiracy involving a secret handshake, POTUS, Area 51 and the Reptilians from Planet Niburu?

Or is it that insurance premiums are based on statistical analyses of population segments and age brackets? So that the reason I have to pay a higher premium for life insurance is the relative life expectancies between the genders, i.e. women have a longer life expectancy than men? Conversely, the same statistics - taken over hyooge populations - show that women are more likely to exit the work force (temporarily or permanently) due to disability. So do you think I should stage a protest and show up on the news using brutal logic like "I'm at least as healthy as any woman in my age bracket, and so I shouldn't have to pay more for life insurance"? Not only that, but 18 year old men pay way more for car insurance than 18 year old women - such injustice! Epic confusion of statistical mean and a single data point - also known as "I am the world". This is the same reasoning as what's employed by people who play the lottery not because it's fun, but because "people win every time, so how hard can it be?".

So; would it be better if insurance premiums were based on politically correctness instead of math? Epic PC thuggery.


Anders said...

So do you think I should stage a protest and show up on the news


Wilhelm said...

LOL.......can I count on you to picket with me?

It'd be like old times.....

Anders said...

Of course. Right next to, broski, with a hooooge banner.

Anders said...

Serious, though. The thing about insurance is that a group of people share the risk of illness/accidents/etc among them. However, the insurance companies use statitics to lower the prices for people with low risk and thus getting more client. The main question here is not whether they use sex as a parameter, it is whether this practice is moral in the first place. It basically says that people that need the safty net of an insurance is the one paying the most. Which is kind of against the thought of sharing the risk. It also means that if you're atypical of your group, you're paying through your nose for it.

Wilhelm said...

Exactly. It is cynical, not sexist. Legislating moral issues is quite dubious, though.

Still; it kind of goes both ways, as insurance fraud is a frequently committed crime. Besides; if we're talking strictly about disbility insurance, I think most would agree that if your job description involves scaling high buildings without any form of safety equipment or jumping over 15 trucks and through a burning hoop with your motorcycle, you should pay more than someone working a desk. We're talking about many different groups of people, not one.

group benefits Canada said...

Very good article! People have to understand that connection - if insurance companies wouldn't discriminate, overall payments would be higher. If the majority of people wants lower payments, you have to expect, that there will be some minorities affected. Especially when talking about health insurance and life insurance.

Wilhelm said...

Well; although the literal meaning of the word "discrimination" fits, I'd rather not use it in this context, as it's loaded with emotions, and can give rise to all kinds of PC thuggery.

This is strictly probability-based business decisions for maximizing profit while securing a large customer base.