Euro court slaps down insurers over gender risks
No more lower premiums for Sheilas
The European Court of Justice has ruled that insurers should not treat gender as a risk factor when assessing premiums, clearing the way for higher costs for women. And probably men.
A Belgian consumer organisation had brought the case, which centred on exemptions from the EU's anti-discrimination directive that allowed insurance companies to take gender into account when setting premiums.
Thus young men looking for car insurance are generally considered to be boy racers and hit with swingeing premiums, while young women pay much less.
The court declared that the directive was "silent" as to how long the exemptions should last, meaning "Member States which have made use of the option are permitted to allow insurers to apply the unequal treatment without any temporal limitation".
This might have meant they could have lasted indefinitely, so the Court of Justice has now ruled that "in the insurance services sector, the derogation from the general rule of unisex premiums and benefits is invalid with effect from 21 December 2012".
This is expected to mean women will now have to pay more car insurance. However, other forms of insurance will also be affected, with annuities, for example, likely to pay out less to men, who have traditionally gotten better rates on account of their tendency to die earlier. ®
If insurance WERE about risk assessment
Then your premium wouldn't go up cos someone in a different county was hit by an uninsured Polish driver. Would it?
Insurance Co's do NOT have your best interests at heart. They have shareholders.
The principle against prejudice is that it's wrong to take a statistic about a group and assume that tells you a fact about the individual who happens to be a member of that group.
The very notion of insurance flies in the face of this so there's a delicate balance of what is and is not acceptable.
However, Shiela's Wheels are feeding on popular culture's acceptance of sexism (as long as it's against men). That always jarred with me somewhat.
This ruling is also consistent with the broader idea that genetic markers should not be used to affect insurance premiums.
Some commentators have pointed out that insurers are, equally, ageist. But age is not just a number; it represents how much experience you have. It isn't fair to say a 60-year-old should have a lower premium than a 20-year-old *assuming* they've both been driving for 40 years. But that's not a valid assumption. Conversely, a 60-year-old who only learned to drive last week should probably have the same premium as a 20-year-old who did the same.
There goes Sheila's Wheels S.P
However I can't agree with this ruling even though as a male it's affected me adverseley over the past 20 years. Surely insurance is all about risk assessment and as gender is proven to be a significant factor in car incidents it's a valid factor. Just like engine size, location ang age. How long before they rule that age can't be used in insurance calculations as it's ageist.