Ant-discrimination laws gone mad?



  • So we have an application to write for people to buy car insurance on, for a particular nation in Europe (but non-EU which might narrow it down for the geography majors out there).



    As is usual, one of the fields into which the user is to enter data is the date of birth field, of which we have been requested to implement the year of birth (non-optimally, in our expert opinion) as a drop-down.



    What we have implemented is a drop-down for years which allows entry of years up to and including the present year. If the date of birth entered is such that it indicates that the user is younger than a particular limiting age, then (as you'd expect) the user is not eligible to purchase insurance.



    The obvious solution is to provide a year drop-down that only offers up valid years (e.g. in 2013 to show years only up to a year in the 1990's).



    But apparently, that approach violates the anti-discrimination laws in that nation. It is illegal to limit data entry which in some way discriminates against anyone, whatever the basis, including age. Fair enough, we say, so if an invalid age is entered, we direct the user to a page which explains "You can't buy insurance, you're too young."



    But no - even that violates the anti-discrimination laws as well. Not only are you not allowed to discriminate against age, but having established that a person is not eligible for a product, it is illegal even to explain why such a condition is in place.



    So the best we can do is to merely show a message to the user: "We're sorry, but based on the information you have provided to us, we are unable to provide you insurance."



  •  I don't know about you, but I definitely discriminate against ants. 



  • Just name the article of law that mandates a minimum age for insurance (e.g., "We are unable to provide you insurance -- Book of cars, chapter X, verse Y"). They can't do shit against their own stuff, especially if you don't even quote it.



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    But no - even that violates the anti-discrimination laws as well. Not only are you not allowed to discriminate against age, but having established that a person is not eligible for a product, it is illegal even to explain why such a condition is in place.
     

    I think that's bollocks and someone misinterpreted the rules.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    But no - even that violates the anti-discrimination laws as well. Not only are you not allowed to discriminate against age, but having established that a person is not eligible for a product, it is illegal even to explain why such a condition is in place.
     

    I think that's bollocks and someone misinterpreted the rules.

    Given that we haven't even been told precisely what the rules are, I would suggest that we're all misinterpreting them.



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    in Europe (but non-EU
     

    That's the surprising part. I thought only the US, Canada and EU were governed by liberals gone mad.

    But maybe that country is an EU candidate?



  • @levbor said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    in Europe (but non-EU
     

    That's the surprising part. I thought only the US, Canada and EU were governed by liberals gone mad.

    But maybe that country is an EU candidate?

    Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland are all outside the EU and none of them is likely to be a candidate any time soon.

    The idea that anti-discrimination law prohibits explaining why you are legally compelled to discriminate is, however, preposterous.



  • @levbor said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    in Europe (but non-EU
     

    That's the surprising part. I thought only the US, Canada and EU were governed by liberals gone mad.

    This may be true for Canada and the EU, but I'm afraid, the US is governed by conservatives gone mad. Your so-called 'liberals' are well to the right of centre when compared to pretty much any other political environment.


    Just goes to show stupidity knows no boundaries, I guess.



  • @scudsucker said:

    This may be true for Canada and the EU, but I'm afraid, the US is governed by conservatives gone mad. Your so-called 'liberals' are well to the right of centre when compared to pretty much any other political environment.



    Just goes to show stupidity knows no boundaries, I guess.

     

    It's true that, for example, the right-winged french neocon are more or less aligned with the democrat, or even to their left. That being said, society conservatives and economic liberals are not opposed. In fact there is more people with liberal stance on economic who are conservative on society question (say, the Republican) than people liberal both on economic and society topic. Partly because a big business prefer to not have the civil society asking question to him and use science only when it benefit him (so they can get the discovery who give them more money, while they can hide thoses who would cost him ; typically what have done amiante and tobacco firmsand something each and every firm should do since the firm are here to do money, not to have any morality)

    But to be sure, that's not really something political that kind of problem. It's more the result of too much bureaucracy and stupid reglementation. You could do a tightly reglemented economy with clear and fair rule without stupid loophole. But improving law quality don't work to get elected, and having confusing law that don't work allow you to say you have done something without endangering anything.

     



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    But apparently, that approach violates the anti-discrimination laws in that nation. It is illegal to limit data entry which in some way discriminates against anyone, whatever the basis, including age. Fair enough, we say, so if an invalid age is entered, we direct the user to a page which explains "You can't buy insurance, you're too young."



    But no - even that violates the anti-discrimination laws as well. Not only are you not allowed to discriminate against age, but having established that a person is not eligible for a product, it is illegal even to explain why such a condition is in place.
    Without knowing the laws of that nation, obviously I can't comment with any great authority, but bear in mind that there's a difference between being in breach of the law and being in breach of what idiots think the law is. The kind of thing you're describing would make perfect sense when it comes to dealing with idiots who think they know the law because they've watched too much foreign TV and who start making complaints about 'discrimination' (in a whining tone).


    Then again, the EU itself currently has a law saying it's not permitted for insurance companies to discriminate based on gender, but age is just fine. It's a very screwed-up area of law.
    @Fjp said:

    Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland are all outside the EU and none of them is likely to be a candidate any time soon.

    Those countries are all members of the Council of Europe, though, and so must be signatories to the ECHR.
    @Fjp said:

    The idea that anti-discrimination law prohibits explaining why you are legally compelled to discriminate is, however, preposterous.
    It is indeed, but that doesn't mean it can't be on the books somewhere.



  • @TDWTF123 said:

    Then again, the EU itself currently has a law saying it's not permitted for insurance companies to discriminate based on gender, but age is just fine. It's a very screwed-up area of law.
     

     Well, it's perfectly the kind of semi-aberration you get from lazy law processing.

     At first, the law was to forbid insurance to run differents price depending on genetic test. In other word, even if you have gene that raise your cancer chance by 15%, insurances are not supposed to make you pay 15% more or forbid you from applying. It make sense with some conception of health insurances, and it do help the unlucky one get an insurance. You cannot change your genetic problems, and everyone deserve to be able to get treatment at a reasonable price, which is the spirit of the law.

    Now, being a male is a huge risk factor for car insurance. Being male is kind of a genetic risk you cannot do anything against, and a lot of men were complaining that they paid more than women. So, EU expanded the aforementioned stuff to gender. Which is make a lot less sense, since men get into more car accident not because they are men but because men are taught to be less risk-averse. You cannot wish your cancer risk away, but you can drive sensibly. But since it's a popular move, let's do it !

     



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    for a particular nation in Europe (but non-EU which might narrow it down for the geography majors out there)
    Why would you be so secretive about which country it is? Ah, I see: By telling us straight away you might discriminate against that country? Or against other countries which also do stupid things but suffer from you not mentioning them? Just kidding. ;-)

    @Matt Westwood said:

    But apparently, that approach violates the anti-discrimination laws in that nation.

    Apparently? Or definitely? And who is the authority claiming that it would be a violation of their anti-discrimination laws? A lawyer? Or did you or somebody in your company actually read the text of these laws? In the original language or in a malformed translation?

    And will you really be sued by new-born babies, other children or even teenagers because they can't buy car insurance since you (have to) discriminate against people having their age?

    That sounds all very unbelievable...



  • @spezialpfusch said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    for a particular nation in Europe (but non-EU which might narrow it down for the geography majors out there)
    Why would you be so secretive about which country it is? Ah, I see: By telling us straight away you might discriminate against that country? Or against other countries which also do stupid things but suffer from you not mentioning them? Just kidding. ;-)

    @Matt Westwood said:

    But apparently, that approach violates the anti-discrimination laws in that nation.

    Apparently? Or definitely? And who is the authority claiming that it would be a violation of their anti-discrimination laws? A lawyer? Or did you or somebody in your company actually read the text of these laws? In the original language or in a malformed translation?

    And will you really be sued by new-born babies, other children or even teenagers because they can't buy car insurance since you (have to) discriminate against people having their age?

    That sounds all very unbelievable...

    We're just the contractors. We made the suggestions: can't we make the selector just offer up the years which are valid? The customer told us: no, because etc blah blah. Okay, we replied, we've programmed it so that the user goes to a page saying "you're too young, blah blah." The customer told us, no, you can't do that, because blah blah.



    Now we don't know the details of European law from squat, we're not lawyers, but we do know how to keep the customer happy and (importantly) paying us money. If they've misinterpreted the laws, why do we care?



    It's just sufficiently WTFy to make it worth a posting on the sidebar.



  • @TheLazyHase said:

    Now, being a male is a huge risk factor for car insurance. Being male is kind of a genetic risk you cannot do anything against, and a lot of men were complaining that they paid more than women. So, EU expanded the aforementioned stuff to gender. Which is make a lot less sense, since men get into more car accident not because they are men but because men are taught to be less risk-averse. You cannot wish your cancer risk away, but you can drive sensibly. But since it's a popular move, let's do it !



    Yeah, that's actually a good move. Making guys pay more for car insurance is just as reprehensible as making women pay more. Or paying women less at work just for being women. Since women are more likely to get pregnant and quit after all. \s

    Either we agree that the collective statistics of a group should not determine how we treat individuals within that group, or we don't. If the former, then it hypocrisy to extend to certain groups and certain statistics, but not to others.

     


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    @TheLazyHase said:

    Now, being a male is a huge risk factor for car insurance. Being male is kind of a genetic risk you cannot do anything against, and a lot of men were complaining that they paid more than women. So, EU expanded the aforementioned stuff to gender. Which is make a lot less sense, since men get into more car accident not because they are men but because men are taught to be less risk-averse. You cannot wish your cancer risk away, but you can drive sensibly.

    Um, I think you kind of just refuted your own argument. Men can drive sensibly, yes, so it follows that charging them more just because they are men is discriminatory.

    I'd be willing to believe the difference is more than sociological, and may actually be related to hormones like testosterone.



  • @Tacroy said:

    I don't know about you, but I definitely discriminate against ants.
    What about uncles?

     



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @Tacroy said:

    I don't know about you, but I definitely discriminate against ants.
    What about uncles?

     

    They discriminate against ants too.

     



  • @joe.edwards said:

    Um, I think you kind of just refuted your own argument. Men can drive sensibly, yes, so it follows that charging them more just because they are men is discriminatory.

    I will say it differently : cultural difference, acceptable. Genetic difference, not acceptable. Men driving like shit, cultural problem, not genetic problem.

    @joe.edwards said:


    I'd be willing to believe the difference is more than sociological, and may actually be related to hormones like testosterone.

     

    And you would be wrong. Studies show that comportemental difference between man and women is almost only culture related.The sad thing is that hormone is a valid excuse for almost nothing. Maybe if your beard grow, you can accuse hormones. But nopt if you are aggressive.

     



  • All those 12-year-olds trying to buy car insurance are going to end up in a real froth, and take their business elsewhere.



  • @scudsucker said:

    @levbor said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    in Europe (but non-EU
     

    That's the surprising part. I thought only the US, Canada and EU were governed by liberals gone mad.

    This may be true for Canada and the EU, but I'm afraid, the US is governed by conservatives gone mad. Your so-called 'liberals' are well to the right of centre when compared to pretty much any other political environment.


    Just goes to show stupidity knows no boundaries, I guess.

    None of these politicians are liberals.  If they were, they would be expanding the rights of the people, not shrinking them.

     



  • @operagost said:

    @scudsucker said:

    @levbor said:

    @Matt Westwood said:

    in Europe (but non-EU
     

    That's the surprising part. I thought only the US, Canada and EU were governed by liberals gone mad.

    This may be true for Canada and the EU, but I'm afraid, the US is governed by conservatives gone mad. Your so-called 'liberals' are well to the right of centre when compared to pretty much any other political environment.


    Just goes to show stupidity knows no boundaries, I guess.

    None of these politicians are liberals.  If they were, they would be expanding the rights of the people, not shrinking them.

     

     What definition of liberal requires expanding the rights of the people?  Or are you thinking libertarian?



  • @Matt Westwood said:

    Now we don't know the details of European law from squat, we're not lawyers, but we do know how to keep the customer happy and (importantly) paying us money. If they've misinterpreted the laws, why do we care?

    Because it might just be nice to actually solve the customers problem instead of blindly doing what they request? Because it feels horrible to implement features you know are going to frustrate people? Because you'd hate using the website yourself? What you saying is you don't give a shit about your customer or their success as long as they keep paying you money.



  • @Aeolun said:

    @Matt Westwood said:
    Now we don't know the details of European law from squat, we're not lawyers, but we do know how to keep the customer happy and (importantly) paying us money. If they've misinterpreted the laws, why do we care?

    Because it might just be nice to actually solve the customers problem instead of blindly doing what they request? Because it feels horrible to implement features you know are going to frustrate people? Because you'd hate using the website yourself? What you saying is you don't give a shit about your customer or their success as long as they keep paying you money.

    What he said earlier was that his company did argue for a better approach. In fact, they implemented a better approach. They were overruled.
    What did you expect them to do, refuse to do any work for this client because they demand a couple of wtf details? Hire a lawyer to check and convince the client that their interpretation of the legal requirements was wrong?


  • @joe.edwards said:

    @TheLazyHase said:
    Now, being a male is a huge risk factor for car insurance.

    Um, I think you kind of just refuted your own argument. Men can drive sensibly, yes, so it follows that charging them more just because they are men is discriminatory.

    I'd be willing to believe the difference is more than sociological, and may actually be related to hormones like testosterone.

    It's young males that are riskier than young females - once you start looking at those in (say) the 30's the differences become smaller. And the 'risk' is generally attributed to the cost per accident being smaller for women than it is for men, rather than fewer accidents.


  •  So can someone explain to me why, according to the rates I was being charged for auto insurance, one night some years ago I went to bed as irresponsible and reckless as an eighteen-year-old, and woke up the next morning as staid and respectable as someone in his mid-30s?



  • @da Doctah said:

     So can someone explain to me why, according to the rates I was being charged for auto insurance, one night some years ago I went to bed as irresponsible and reckless as an eighteen-year-old, and woke up the next morning as staid and respectable as someone in his mid-30s?

    With the same insurer? Pass.
    With a different insurer? Different insurers cater for different demographics and quote accordingly.



  • @PJH said:

    It's young males that are riskier than young females - once you start looking at those in (say) the 30's the differences become smaller. And the 'risk' is generally attributed to the cost per accident being smaller for women than it is for men, rather than fewer accidents.

    In the US, it's generally males under 25. Especially unmarried males. Also, it's a lot more difficult to rent a car when you're under 25 (male or female). This stuff is all based on actuarial studies, which are critical if you're actually selling insurance, in which the purchaser is basically betting that he'll have a problem, and the seller is betting that he won't. So it's important (as a seller) that you have a good handle on the odds.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @PJH said:
    It's young males that are riskier than young females - once you start looking at those in (say) the 30's the differences become smaller. And the 'risk' is generally attributed to the cost per accident being smaller for women than it is for men, rather than fewer accidents.

    In the US, it's generally males under 25. Especially unmarried males. Also, it's a lot more difficult to rent a car when you're under 25 (male or female). This stuff is all based on actuarial studies, which are critical if you're actually selling insurance, in which the purchaser is basically betting that he'll have a problem, and the seller is betting that he won't. So it's important (as a seller) that you have a good handle on the odds.

    Actuarial tables have moved over the last 15 years. Females in their 20s are catching up with males as far as fatalities go. It's probably all the texting. Not a month goes by without a news report that a stupid girl walked in front of a train, between subway cars or down from a pier while texting.

    The worse is that if you are on the receiving end of a texting girl you know it's not worth shit. It's like endless Tumblr.



  • @Ronald said:

    Actuarial tables have moved over the last 15 years.

    This doesn't surprise me, but I haven't had to worry about that for a while now.

    @Ronald said:

    It's like endless Tumblr.

    Possibly the scariest 4 words in the English language.


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  • @da Doctah said:

     So can someone explain to me why, according to the rates I was being charged for auto insurance, one night some years ago I went to bed as irresponsible and reckless as an eighteen-year-old, and woke up the next morning as staid and respectable as someone in his mid-30s?



    Because you have to set a line somewhere?

     

    I actually work for an auto insurance company, and most of the logic that governs what class of premiums people get is driven by triggers. So instead of being an sliding scale where you get a different premium for each year of age, instead you get X premium at 18-25, then Y premium from 26-65 and then Z premium 66+. Which creates the effect that you notice of suddenly getting a drastic premium difference on a single renewal after you turn 25, even though really the lowered risk factor is the accumulated effect of several years of maturity. At least that's how my employer's code works. Dunno about others.

     

     



  • @PJH said:

    @da Doctah said:

     So can someone explain to me why, according to the rates I was being charged for auto insurance, one night some years ago I went to bed as irresponsible and reckless as an eighteen-year-old, and woke up the next morning as staid and respectable as someone in his mid-30s?

    With the same insurer? Pass.
    With a different insurer? Different insurers cater for different demographics and quote accordingly.
    With every insurer.  Not a single one doesn't have a change in rates at age 25.  Day before your 25th birthday, you're "eighteen to twenty-four" and get the college-student rate.  Next day, you're "twenty-five to whatever" and get the young-adult rate.  I figure the Responsibility Fairy must visit you in your sleep.

     



  • @Fjp said:

    The idea that anti-discrimination law prohibits explaining why you are legally compelled to discriminate is, however, preposterous.
     

    That.

    Try invoking that law to permit your 5-year old viewing an 18-rated film or drinking alcohol in public places.

    @Matt Westwood said:

    We're just the contractors. We made the
    suggestions: can't we make the selector just offer up the years which
    are valid? The customer told us: no, because etc blah blah. Okay, we
    replied, we've programmed it so that the user goes to a page saying
    "you're too young, blah blah." The customer told us, no, you can't do
    that, because blah blah.

    Are you responsible for construction or architecture? If the former, the customer should do the latter and deliver to you working plans. You just build to whatever spec they've decided.

    @Matt Westwood said:

    Now we don't know the details of European law from squat, we're not lawyers, but we do know how to keep the customer happy and (importantly) paying us money. If they've misinterpreted the laws, why do we care?

    Oh. Yeah. That.

     


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