Sex discrimination cuts both ways as the use of gender in insurance policies is banned

1 Mar

Cheaper car and life insurance for women may have been good while it lasted, but paying a lower premium, just because you’re a woman, has been judged as sex discrimination.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has ruled that it’s a breach of EU equality rules to use gender differences as a means of deciding the price men and women should pay for their insurance premiums – on the principle of ensuring equal treatment between men and women in the access to, and supply of, goods and services.

The new ruling will take effect from December 2012, and experts are predicting a potential rise of up to 25% in motor insurance premiums for women under the age of 25; a 20% rise in the cost of life cover for women; and women approaching retirement could see a rise of 6% in annuity rates.

Maggie Craig, acting director general of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) – which has fought against a gender ban for the past decade – said: “This gender ban is disappointing news for UK consumers. The judgment ignores the fact that taking a person’s gender into account, where relevant to the risk, enables men and women alike to get a more accurate price for their insurance.”

Many of the comments against this ruling assume that risk-taking on the roads is predominantly a male pursuit – though, in my experience as a driver, women are just as likely to be reckless and inconsiderate behind the wheel as men are.

However, I appreciate that, on the road to equality, women can’t have it both ways.




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