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Public Defender Terms Restrictions on Travel Insurance for Older People as Discrimination

On 2 September 2019, the Public Defender of Georgia found age discrimination against the Ardi insurance company, as the company refused to grant travel insurance to A. G. (born in 1937) and S.Kh. (born in 1943).

According to the company, they acted in accordance with the internal policy, which sets 70 years as grounds for refusing a person to provide service, and no individual health condition has been assessed. The Public Defender considers that it is unjustified to set age limit, beyond which a person is denied travel insurance.

The Public Defender indicates in her recommendation that the written explanation provided to the applicants is based on stereotypes about older people. In addition, similar blanket approach of insurance companies may make it impossible for older persons to have access to travel insurance, which may be seen as interference with the right to freedom of movement.

The recommendation also indicates that age-related different treatment may be based on rational factors and serve social, economic objectives; however, it may also be based on generalized conclusions and stereotypes. Both young and old people may become victims of age-related stereotypes. These assumptions and conclusions are often misleading and fail to reflect the diversity of individuals. Age discrimination also has negative social consequences, such as disintegration of older people from the community and lack of access to basic services and products.

In view of the above, the Public Defender recommended the Ardi insurance company to describe the restrictions on service delivery in detail in internal documents; not to set age limit for providing services and to justify refusal to provide services in each individual case in writing.

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