Until and unless availability (or non-availability) becomes a matter of regulation (as it has in the USA in relation to health insurance for example), or a matter of serious public concern (if red-lining or market segmentation were to leave some legitimate risks shunned by all insurers), it seems appropriate for the exclusion to remain. However, the law has recently intervened in relation to discrimination on the grounds of disability, and earlier on the grounds of race and sex.
Rather than requiring complainants to pursue complaints through the legal process, it may be preferable both for insurers and complainants for my Terms of Reference to be extended to allow such complaints to be considered. My Terms of Reference permit references only by individuals. Some, of course, hold policies of insurance covering an aspect of a small business in which case I can consider a complaint. But not otherwise. accurate valuations of the house and lands (currently 26,000) would no doubt mean that the disputes of larger corporations would be unlikely to be referred.
Nor might the industry be expected to fund a free dispute resolution service for multi-national companies. It is, however, notable that the Banking Ombudsman scheme permits references by small business account holders, and the Building Societies Bill would give not only individuals but any partnership, club or other unincorporated body, if the amount of the body’s turnover for its last financial year does not exceed million and corporate bodies with a similar turnover, the right to have complaints considered.
The industry may also see benefits both to its reputation, in the reduction of its legal bills, and indeed in getting better value for money from the Bureau, in the extension of the Terms of Reference to deal with such matters. A number of my investigative staff have a background in commercial underwriting so there is already a body of expertise within the Bureau which could be supplemented as the need arose.See More