‘Gender neutral’ insurance comes into force

12.00 | 1 January 2013 | | 4 comments

New European rules that came into force on 21 December mean insurers can no longer take a customer’s gender into account when calculating premiums.

The changes, which are the result of a ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in March 2011, mean that women are likely to see their car insurance costs rise.

Premiums must now be ‘gender neutral’, with men and women being treated the same, even if they present obviously different risks to insurers.

Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers (which campaigned against the move) said: “On behalf of UK consumers we fought against the gender in insurance ban, as the more relevant factors insurers can take into account the more accurately motor premiums can reflect the actual risk.

"However, despite the gender ban motor insurance will remain competitively priced so all motorists – regardless of their sex – should shop around to get the right policy at the best possible price.”

Ian Crowder, spokesman for AA Insurance, said: “The youngest drivers will be most affected. That is because young men are more than twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash than their female peers.

“Young women aged 17 to 22 typically pay up to 40% less for their cover than young men; well, until now at any rate. In middle age, there is little difference in premiums between the genders.”

Premiums are likely to drop by up to 10% for men aged 25 and below and increase by up to 30% for the youngest women drivers, Mr Crowder added.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    I wonder just how much insurance affects risk of casualty. Unless it really precludes risky drivers from driving, I suspect not much. Once you’ve paid an eye-watering premium you might even feel more entitled to make a claim. And how many claims are about trivial matters such as nudging a bollard while parking?

    With regard to fairness, I don’t remember anyone giving me a higher no-claims bonus because of the higher diligence with which I overcame my innate male propensity for risk-taking. If I am right and insurance is just about apportioning costs reactively, then I see a certain justice about not assuming all males are high risk.

    Your premium should surely reflect your performance, regardless of accidents of birth. I see no reason why everyone’s first premium shouldn’t be equally high as they are an unknown risk quantity, and from then on, should be based on performance. Then all safe women will get lower premia and so will safe men. Safe! Maybe there is a case for multi-year policies in which insurers agree a step-down premium in advance based on no claims. Just think – there would be an incentive for driving more carefully!

    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    Taking the EU’s thinking to its logical conclusion, everyone must be equal in all respects – so the same rates should apply to all.

    Fortunately, and not before time, EU rules will cease to apply to this country and we will again be free to make our own laws, as we did quite successfully for very nearly 800 years, until exactly 40 years ago.

    Idris Francis Petersfield
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    Now that women will be paying up to 40% more will it mean a decrease overall in insurance premiums for males…. or just greater profit for the insurance companies? I woiuld have thought that insurance companies could defend their decision on the proven grounds of fewer accidents, less risk thereby attracting a lower premium. They didn’t bother, did they?

    I remember when this was first mooted I did enquire who may have been complaining. Perhaps it was someone in the industry? Seeing the instant profit of using the law as a tool by increasing female insurance premuims.

    Next step no doubt is age related premiums to increase?

    bob craven Lancs
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    Now that gender neutral insurance has come in will the European courts take the next logical step and say that premiums based on age aren’t fair as well? If they are going to ignore the stats in one area as not all males have more crashes it would make sense to say age grouping is ageist as most young drivers do not have a crash. It is clear that telematics and individual risk is the way the industry needs to go.

    Dr James Whalen DSA ADI (car), Wolverhampton
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