The newly-mooted Equality Bill could drive up the costs of travel insurance for customers.

The bill was announced last week by Equalities Minister Harriet Harman and is expected to enter the legislative process in the next sitting of Parliament, starting in the autumn.

The aim of the bill is to replace 116 different pieces of separate equality legislation currently on the law books.

As well as addressing women’s rights it will also end the practice of insurance companies charging much larger premiums for elderly people simply because of their age.

Instead the companies will be required to prove they have performed a proper risk assessment for each individual client and charged them accordingly.

However, insurance brokers Campbell Irvine managing director Anthony Kaye said the changes could see insurance companies hike up the cost of coverage for everyone.

He said: “It will have a significant impact on certain companies in the UK and the products they offer.”

Kaye said companies will no longer be able to impose an upper age limit of 69 on their policies as around half of all insurance companies currently do but instead will have to deal with older clients.

He added concerns are already emerging that companies will get round this by quoting excessive prices for the elderly while also raising the cost of younger people’s premiums to cover elderly people’s claims which cost more.

Kaye said the costs of treating the elderly are greater not because they make more claims but when they do the claims can be up to 10 times more costly due to the extended amount of time they are required to spend in hospital.