You are mixing the generic word “discrimination” for the more narrowly defined phrases “lawful discrimination” and “unlawful discrimination.” For example, it is unlawful to discriminate with respect to race and ethnic origin because the discrimination is without merit, and we have laws prohibiting it.
In the case of charging teenage males higher vehicle insurance premiums than other “groups” is because:
The practice is lawful. It does not fall into any of the legally recognized areas of what constitute unlawful discrimination.
The practice has merit. There is empirical evidence that male teenage drivers, lacking skill and experience, suffer a disproportionate amount of insurance claims. Their risk factor is disproportionately higher than other segments of the driving population.
In the case of the former statement, there are many things that people might consider unlawful discrimination, if there was a law against it in the first case. This thread illustrates just one of the better known ones.
In the case of the latter statement, the evidence exists. It can be measured, all other things being equal. Just as those people attempting to establish credit for the first time have many more hoops to jump through than someone with an extensive and prudent credit history, the lender is taking a bigger risk with a new client. Hence, they are more wary and adjust their risk factors accordingly.
Is all of this fair? Depends upon who you ask. Should vehicle insurance be a flat rate for everyone? Teenage males would love it, but it would not change the fact that teenage males will still cost the insurance providers more in payouts. In this case, everyone else pays for a select group’s immaturity and undeveloped skill set when it comes to driving. In addition, there is no incentive for teenage male drivers to drive better and thus reduce their risk factors.
There will always be case by case anecdotal stories where teen age male drivers are safe, do not get into accidents and remain so. OTOH, there will alays be 30-year-old, 40-year-old, 50-year-old, etc., drivers who seem to draw accidents to them. All the stories are true. Yet, when looking at the larger picture, which is what insurance companies do to spread the risk and reduce overall costs to themselves and their insured, teenage males still fall into the riskiest group.
(Don’t forget that driving is a privilege and not a right. Driving a vehicle is a learned experience and not acquired by birth. In time, many teenage male drivers develop enough skills and experience that their driving risk factors substantially decrease, along with a correspondingly lower risk to insurance companies.
This is a far cry from other aspects of unlawful discrimnation factors which cannot be acquired by knowledge, experience or payment of $19.95. You are born of a specific gender, ethnic background, potential disabilities, etc., which you cannot change, notwithstanding Michael Jackson. Yes, religion is an exception to this but that’s because it apparently carries the same weighting factor in society as gender, ethnic background, etc. )
Now, to charge black drivers higher premiums just because they are black is unlawful discrimination. Period. But what if the empirical evidence showed black drivers had a much higher risk factor when it comes to driving? The evidence would provide the basis that higher premiums are justified when taking into account the statistical risk factors.
However, two problems with this.
The risk factors are based upon learned behavior. This means an individual can change their behavior to reduce their risk. There is no evidence that blacks, or any other ethnic/racial group, as individuals, cannot change their behaviors, become better drivers and lower their insurance risks.
Charging black drivers higher premiums just because they are black is unlawful discrimination. Period.
Now, do I support the contention I just illustrated:
But what if the empirical evidence showed black drivers had a much higher risk factor when it comes to driving? The evidence would provide the basis that higher premiums are justified when taking into account the statistical risk factors.?
No, because I am merely offering the opinion as a basis for debate.
In the end, what constitutes lawful vs unlawful discrimination is what society chooses to create for itself through their laws. Is it possible for some of these laws to fly in the face of what may be called “common sense,” a “gut feeling,” practicality, basic human rights, etc.? Yes. But that’s why we have a process through the courts to rule on the constitutionality of such laws. We have a system of checks and balances which should overturn legally constituted laws which should never have been passed in the first place.