back to article Euro court slaps down insurers over gender risks

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 …

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discrimination

Would the ECJ also like to ban men from dying earlier. It is clearly discriminator of nature to make Sheilas have to live longer and therefore suffer more of the ECJ's stupid decisions.

For Insurers, perhaps they should be forces to publish their data on which they make discriminatory charges, but if the risks are different then surely the premiums need to match that.

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Big Brother

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.

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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.

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Anonymous Coward

Insurance

Insurance is also about grouping together risk, the more you break apart a group you get a less level playing field and some pay disproportionately more.

Also, try this thought experiment: Asian teenaged males cause more accidents proportionately than any other group*. Should asian teenaged boys be charged more because of their racial background? Personally I find that this doesn't sit well with me, if I then extend it to male/female I can't justify feeling different about that.

No claims bonuses seem to work very well as a reward for less risky behaviour as they have to be earned and apply to nothing other than your abillity to not cause an accident.

*I just made that up for the purpouse of the thought experiment.

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No, Sheila's Wheels will grow

They do not have to change theor prices because, if you are a man, they do not have a policy for you. It is not discrimination to say they will only insure female drivers. It is discrimination if they say they will insure men, but only for a stupidly large premium.

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I disagree

Saying that they will not insure men is far more discriminatory than saying they will insure them for a high premium. By not insuring men they are withholding a service from an entire group of people on the basis of gender, by insuring them for a high premium they are offering that service for the statistical price at which it is affordable to them.

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Sheila's Wheels...

do in fact insure men.

I never held car insurance with them, but I did in fact have home insurance with them at one time, simply because they were the cheapest supplier.

I felt a bit daft doing it, and I'm sure I would have felt even dafter if I had to claim... but I did it. Before I lose my manhood, I'd like to add that the quote was found by a comparison service.

I believe it would be illegal for them to REFUSE to quote because you are male. Note that that's different from them applying a premium because you are male.

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No they won't

Sheila's wheels do provide quotes for men, if you can cope with their lurid pink website.

They quoted me £512.72. If I had a sex change operation then I would only pay £412.12.

Banco Santander charge me £377.55 as a man, so I think I will pass on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Racial discrimination in insurance

It might be illegal, but it would in any case be totally impracticable. If Ahmed ticks the "White European" box in order to pay a smaller premium, then crashes his car, seeing as there is no accepted clinical test for "race", how are you going to sue him for lying? Answer: you can't. So everyone will put themselves down as whichever "race" pays least.

Sex is a lot easier. Only a very small proportion of the population could plausibly claim to belong to either sex, and in any case sex is specified on some official documents so you could have your insurance contract refer to that officially recorded sex rather than the result of a clinical test.

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Paris Hilton

@ Anonymous Coward 14:45

If Ahmed ticks the "White European" box in order to pay a smaller premium, then crashes his car, seeing as there is no accepted clinical test for "race", how are you going to sue him for lying? Answer: you can't. So everyone will put themselves down as whichever "race" pays least.

You're right, they're unlikely to sue him for lying. The insurance company will refuse to pay out on the basis that he lied on his application form, and his cover is therefore invalid. They'd also keep the premiums that he had paid, and he could well be looking at criminal charges (obtaining services by deception, and various motoring offences).

Try insuring a Golf GTI as a main driver, and having an 18 year old as a named driver. The moment that there is an accident, they'll go through that car looking for hi-fi's, alloys, CD's, anything to show that the car was primarily driven by the 18 year old. You can lie or mislead them all you want, they're just not going to pay out.

Simples. Like Paris.

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FAIL

you could apply that thinking to any variable

I could, for instance, be a male with straight A* at school and college and with a 1st class honours degree and hence be much more responsible than one of the local Bogans. We may both share an interest in higly modified cars, under the currently commonly accepted status quo I would be penalised simply for having a modified car because he will not be responsible with his.

This is the way the insurance system works and so it should. having a modified vehicle does not prove that I am a better or worse driver than anyone else but staticially there is a connection between modified vehicle and higher accident rates. Being a male does not prove that I am a bad driver but statistically, assuming all other factors are the same, I am more likely to have an accident than a female.

The end extension of your logic is that they (insurance companies) should not penalise me for the poor behaviour of others. Even if I am 19 year old male on a provisional license driving a highly modified needlessly powerful japnese import. Because I might just be the exception to the rule.

"The fundamental problem is that being male doesn't inherently mean you'll be a worse driver"

I absolutely agree that being male does not inherently make you a worse driver. But it does inherently make you more likely to take risks than a female paticulalry if you are a young male. this in turn makes you more likley to be involved in an accident.

Where ever there is a clear statistical variation based on a variable whose value can be easily and clearly measured for all policy holders then the insurance companies should be adjusting premiums to reflect that. Regardless of whether that variable be gender, age, vehicle modification, claim history, garaging, primary purpose. It is a fact that males are more likely to have an accident than females, whatever the reason. It is not discrimination to adjust premiums to reflect this.

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Surely ...

... it isn't just about likelihood of having an accident, but, from the insurance companies' point of view, how much is claimed per accident. I think I've seen statistics that the average claim is about twice as high for male drivers as women drivers (about £5000 as compared to £2500, IIRC). There are going to be several reasons for this, but one of them is likely to be that most modified cars belong to men (in my experience), and so claims are higher when the pride and joy gets stolen/vandalised. Also, men tend to drive the more expensive car in a family (though the number of women in big BMWs/Jags/Aston Martins/Audis does seem to be going up).

It seems to me that if it can be objectively shown that women are a smaller financial risk, then it is legitimate to count this in assessment of risk. Since the ECJ have said it is not, then I do not see that anything other than the drivers past performance can be allowed to make a difference. No longer should it be possible for the insurers to ask anything at all other than "have you had a claim in the last X years?". I just don't see how weighting for type of employment/miles driven/engine size/make of car etc can now be justified.

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agree mostly but not on car type

I buy a car with a smaller engine, and less desirable to theives as iwant lower insurance premiums. Why shouldn't insureres be allowed to assess risk for the price, attractiveness of the car. Also if a car is safer and less likily to be in an accident then why can't they charge lower.

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just stupid

This ruling is just stupid. What's next, banning insurance "discrimination" against boy racers with idiotic car modifications and 9 points on their licences?

(BTW, I'm male, so I don't have a personal financial interest in complaining about this.)

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At last

Women rightly had a case for being paid less for the same work as men. That has been corrected, but it has swung too far in the other direction. I never heard women complain that they were being given cheaper deals for being women. Let's hope they sort out sports next. ie. Wimbledon. Yes the pay is the same, but Women play less sets, so they earn more than the men.

Equality should be equal.

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Coat

Inequality

So far we haven't sued for shorter queues in front of the restrooms, either.

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No but...

In most cases the queue for the wimmins' restroom has more service agents (cubicles) and when the wimmins' queue gets too long it is rather too common for wimmin to decide that they also own all the cubicles in the mens' restrooms.

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Women paid less for the same job has been corrected ?

In what universe do you live, sir ?

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Tell me about it ...

A couple of years ago, I was pointing percy at the porcelain, just zipped up, and out of the cubicle came a middle aged lady ..

"I don't queue" she said, before waltzing out.

Now if a *man* had tried the same stunt in the ladies ?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Tell me about it ...

A man wouldn't need to. When is there ever a queue for the gents?

I've used foul, foetid men's bogs when I've been absolutely desperate, and I'll do it again if I have to. I've seen guys in the ladies now and then, but that generally seems to have been because they were, er, in a lady. Or wanting to avoid the nasty disgusting gents', which I can't really blame them for. Bit rude but not that big a deal, frankly. (NB on these occasions there have been other women present, and none of them have screamed or called the police.)

But never mind, let's all find some example of behaviour which proves women are trying to take over the world and think men are no better than bedbugs!

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FAIL

My Universe

is the one where businesses are run purely to create the largest possible profits.

If it were indeed possible to employ wimmin who "do the exact same work as men for less pay" then I have no doubt that some enterprising businessperson would have leapt on that opportunity, undercut everyone else until they all went bankrupt and the entire market was theirs and theirs alone! muwhahahaha!

Either that or no men would ever have jobs and women would account for 100% of the workforce.

Neither of these things have happened yet so I'm pretty comfortable in claiming that the whole "Women earn 30% less than men for the exact same work" is total bollocks.

Whenever you see feminists making those claims, they are simply taking the cumulative pay of women across the board and dividing that by the number of working women across the board to get the average figure women earn. They do the same for men and them holler about the so called "pay disparity".

What they don't take into account is that women tend to choose safer, cleaner jobs in airconditioned offices (such as jobsworth HR workers) or hairdressing or whatever while men OTOH, despite all the clamouring for equality over the years are still seen to be the primary breadwinners and are therefore forced into working jobs that are more dangerous, dirtier or require far longer hours (ie: executards) and consequently the cumulative pay for men tends to be higher.

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FAIL

So whats next?

Cant use Age? Cant use job description?

Etc. Etc.

So in a few years time we'll all be paying the same £2000 a year for car insurance (young or old, male or female) to cover all bases and life insurance will be gone totally.

Sometimes things we feel aren't fair are there for a good reason. Life's not fair, deal with it.

If you cant use risk factors to assess risk then they will have to stop us all doing anything.

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Unhappy

Re: So whats next?

I also look forward to the cries of outrage when insurance age discrimination is removed and we all pay the same amount.

I also look forward to all the other biases that insurance companies use to rate the risk of people being removed so that we are all treated "fairly".

Affordable insurance isn't important is it?

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Anonymous Coward

Eh?

What about using the no claims bonus to reward someone who is more safe.

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national insurance

So should national insurance start to charge more for smokers, or fat people in the NHS

Or perhaps people from Hull should pay more as they are more likily to be unemployed?

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More?

Why would smokers pay more? They will die sooner than non-smokers, so I'm told, so their costs will be less. Or do you think the non-smokers will never cost to maintain in old age, never go to hospital during their longer old age and never collect pension?

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Alert

omfg

we are doomed, that is all.

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Black Helicopters

December 21 2012 ?

Total non-story. The world is due to end that day!

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Why?

It wasn't broken so why try to fix it. All this means is that consumers will lose out and insurance companies will make more money! Thank you once again Europe.

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Anonymous Coward

Europe?

The judge is just applying rules our government signed up to. Perhaps they were too stupid to see the consequences, perhaps this is what they wanted, I don't know.

Personally this all seems reasonable to me. Otherwise, what if it turned out that black people had more accidents, should they pay more, perhaps Asians less? Should the disabled pay more? Should the poor pay more if it turns out they are more of a risk? Are homosexuals safer drivers, perhaps they should pay less?

To those who say the system ain't broke: How is it young men today pay ten times what I paid when I was a kid? There's no evidence costs have gone up by the same amount, nor that premiums for more experienced drivers have come down. To me the system is broken.

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great

sounds like whoever brought this to the attantion of the european court has royally fucked things up for everyone concered, nice one, good job.

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WTF?

What about age?

Shouldn't they be restricted from discrimating based on age as well?

As a 40 year old male, I would not welcome that much... but my kids might. :)

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ah but...

You can always wait until you're a little bit older before buying a car... I can't wait until i turn into a woman...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: ah but...

Heh. I bet you can't, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

What, for that matter, about country of origin?

Yeah - there are already stirrings in the industry because the EU legislation regarding age discrimination is due for implementation 'soon'.

However - all this "You can't discriminate because I have attribute X" rather makes a nonsense of the idea of insurance based on risk.

How will the insurance company determine if you're a risk if they're not allowed to use those measurable properties inherent in the statistical calculations on which insurance risk is based?

Bit like saying "You can clean my windows but you can't use ladders" then complaining when you get charged extra for the gear the window cleaner needs to be 20' up in the air.

This was a bloody stupid decision that will have bloody stupid consequences.

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Boy racers...

Well, if they're not allowed to discriminate in terms of gender, expect insurance forms to find other ways to identify them. Bodykits and spoilers will have to be used to consider the cost of insurance. Heck, even things that don't effect the mechanical efficiency of the car (eg cold cathode tubes, overpowered speakers, chromaflare paint and decals) will be fair game in assessing a driver as high risk.

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Boffin

@The Indomitable Gall

All of those things would tend to be regarded as 'modifications', which must be declared to the Insurer, precisely so that it can be used to re-evaluate costs.

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....other ways to identify them

"Will the insured be using Bulgarian Airbags?"

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They are already

"Is your car modified in any way (including wheels)?"

My 2p: I don't think I've ever used "it's political correctness gone mad" without taking the piss before. Gender's a genuine indicator of risk and this change will be another excuse for the insurance cartel to dick us all.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Boy racers

Bodykits, spoilers, speakers, paint and decals are already used to assess risk. It's because of the perceived increased theft/vandalism likelihood, plus the fact that the industry assumes those who have these kinds of modifications are more likely to "drive it like they stole it".

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Well there you go then.

If the insurance companies can identify boy racers from the insurance manifest, there's no reason to penalise a 20-year-old bank clerk who drives a Volvo as a potential high-risk boy racer, is there?

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Stop

they already use that...

they are called modifications.

A certain nautical insurance company tried to claim that my factory fitted spoiler was a modification cause it wasn't part of the base spec. I pointed out my car wasn't base spec and they backed down, still didn;t get my money though!

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Stop

I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

interestingly its my experience that those who make the mad modifications to their cars are in fact very careful when they drive their pride and joy.

Its the ones that obvioulsy don't give a shit about their cars that drive it like they stole it.

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Ageism next?

I guess the next step is to apply the same principle to ageism in insurance. While I am getting longish in the tooth myself and will lose out on car insurance, the thought of having boy racers contributing to my health insurance has its attractions.

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WTF?

Stupid!

This is madness.

I presume the next thing will be that you cannot discriminate based on age too...?

So some boy racer buys an Impreza but can't be charged more than someone who has driven for 20 years or it is "discrimination"??

Therefore everyone's premium goes up to cover it.

Nice one.

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No...

"So some boy racer buys an Impreza but can't be charged more than someone who has driven for 20 years or it is "discrimination"??"

No, thats not the issue.

50 year old that passed her test a year ago gets lower premiums than the 22 year old male thats been driving for 4 years with no claims. That is the problem

Experience is still a valid consideration.

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Happy

re: Experience discrimination is not bad.

"This means those complaining about their premiums going up because their 40 will find their fears are unfounded because if they've been driving 20 years they will still get low premiums compared to a fresh 18 year old"

So all my experience of crashing in many and varied ways will finally pay off?

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