back to article UK will obey Euro unisex-insurance rules from 2013

The UK Government is to abide by a European ruling on the use of gender in insurance, although it says the judgment goes against common sense. In March 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled in a test case known as the Test-Achats case that from 21 December 2012 insurers will no longer be able to use gender as a factor in …

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  1. Magnus_Pym

    Banrmy? No!

    Insurance companies use ridiculous stereotyping and social grouping to determine risk. Gender is no more of an indicator of idiocy than postcode or age. I pay a premium because my car has an 's' in the model description, It's a 1600 diesel FFS. They should get serious about risk and offer decent reductions for regularly taking advanced driving lessons etc.

  2. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down

    Genius

    Really, cant we get a little bick of our sovereignty back please? This is a ludicrous decision.

    Please roll back the RU experiment to the EFTA, and allow as many people as you like to join. That was the only useful part of the EU.

    Failing that though, can my wife take out a 10 year car insurance policy?

  3. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

    The insurance con

    Well as I see it the insurance has a choice.

    They can either start treating people fairly, or they can get regulated to treat people fairly.

    Since they seem to do such a bad job of treating people fairly, the regulation is starting.

    It will get a LOT worse and not before time.

    Undoubtedly they will use this as yet another excuse to make even more money, and to avoid reporting much of it using their usual convoluted (but legal) accounting practices.

    Everyone should look forwards to their insurance bills going up again, but then again they always do don't they. Every year, yet another above inflation increase.

  4. joshimitsu

    Reverse Equality

    So they'll just bump up the female driver's premiums to match the men, plus another 10% for good measure.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no title

    What goes against common sense? Would it be ok to charge black people more for car insurance because they were statistically a higher risk? The basic fact is that gender has no link to driving skill whatsoever and is merely a handy money making stat for insurance companies.

  6. Nigel Brown
    WTF?

    Sir.

    So what happened to "call me Dave"s rhetoric about getting tough on Europe, tearing up the loony diktats, and putting people first?

    What's that? It was all bull just to get elected??

    Surely not.

  7. anarchic-teapot
    Unhappy

    Premiums

    "There was, however, some uncertainty about how the judgment would apply to premiums and benefits for policies written before the 21 December deadline"

    Oh, I can tell you that. They'll shoot up, since insurance companies will use the highest risk factor at all times. Possibly weighted, I grant you, but nevertheless it'll cost more.

    While I try not to act like a raging feminist, it does annoy me that so-called "equality" measures like this one (and the same retirement age for all rule) actually penalise women, since we tend to earn less, take fewer risks, spend more time actually raising children, etc. etc.

    PS The first sentence of the article was printed twice.

    1. Ian Ferguson
      Thumb Down

      Prices going up

      Most of the arguments against this equality ruling seem to be 'prices will go up for everyone'.

      It's a free market. Inflation means (generally) prices go up, but competition in the insurance market exists, and consumers will continue to choose the cheapest.

      This ruling is not about pricing, it is about equality. You might as well argue that giving women the vote meant that the impact of each vote is diluted.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      FAIL

      You seem confused....

      Apparently in some worlds, "regulation" (which is what we are seeing here) on goods sold to a captive buyer pool (which is what we have here) makes things better and "fairer"

      That's like a US dude claiming that's he so free while he's being escorted to a Gitmo Flight.

      How's the regulation to mandatorily have > 40% females on companies' boards coming btw.? Ministers of female affairs all over the EU seem pretty happy about having that.

      1. David Hicks

        Mandating >40% of one gender

        is not treating people fairly as individuals. It's the opposite, it's treating people as part of a group and giving them advantage or disadvantage based on that group.

        Mandating that they all get the same access to insurance regardless of gender is treating people fairly.

        (Please note before replying that I'm some sort of sexist pig that I have no vested interest in keeping any gender ratios as they are or really any interest at all in boards at all. I'll start worrying about the fairness of the glass ceiling when I get out from under the glass carpet. The boardroom is not accessible to 99.9999 percent of men either. If adding some old girls to the old boys club that you still will never be part of, makes you happy, good for you)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Devil

        Actually, you are confused

        Captive audience pretty much mandates regulation.

        The problem there is that watchdog is as toothless as it gets and then some. I have yet to see the FSA do anything about vehicle insurance. In the rare cases when something is done it is all OFT.

        70%+ of UK insurers (by market share) violate a number of treaties and conventions to which UK has signed for.

        Example - the insurance green card convention. UK insurers censor out half of the countries (from 42 or so) on the list, interpret the 90 days mandatory insurance requirement as a "single trip only" and add all kinds of interesting xenophobic requirements to it. In fact, the only insurance company I can think of which is fully compliant is AA.

        For comparison - in the rest of the EU you get a green card (uncensored) by default paying at most 10-20Eu admin fee for the more contentious countries. You can take you car to the neighboring (and quite often not so neighboring) countries as many times as you want and for as much as 6 months in any given country provided that your road tax, insurance and MOT are valid. Your insurance remains valid and in most cases you have full coverage same as in home country.

        Try to get those conditions from a UK insurer. Some other time...

        In any case - more regulation and specifically mandatory enforcement of all international conventions to which UK has signed up is a good thing in this case. In the absence of regulation the insurers are skinning the traffic for all it can bare and using the price comparison sites to ensure they do not undercut each other (there is a number of OFT cases on that all won by the OFT so far).

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Double standards

      You can't have it both ways.

      If you want equality with men then you have to have everything equal. You can't pick the things you want and the things you don't want to be equal.

      Earning less is more of a cultural problem in the UK, we are very secretive about our pay and so everyone can be on different wages and not know it.

      So women are unique in that they are the only ones raising children? tell that to all the single male parents.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Actually I never understood the retirement age

        Could someone explain to me;

        Women (in general) live longer than men

        Women (used to) have a lower retirement age than men.

        How's that work?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Cause and effect

          Working until later in life made men die younger.

        2. Colin Miller

          Women married younger

          When the state pension was introduced, women tended to marry men a few years older than themselves. The idea of the 60/65 retirement age was that, on average, the couple would retire at the same time.

      2. anarchic-teapot

        @Giles Jones

        You misunderstand. We're talking *time away from paid employment*, not actually coping with the kids after work and at weekends. You know, maternity leave, that sort of thing.

        And while there *are* single fathers, there are far more single mothers. Nevertheless, could you please indicate where I state that women are unique in raising children? I would hate to unjustly accuse someone of using a straw man argument.

        Note also: women also tend to be harder hit by unemployment.

        As for lower pay being a cultural thing, that is true. Employers use the "time off for having children" ploy for paying less, giving fewer promotions. Secrecy has nothing to do with it. If you want to tell women they have everything equal, you must address that discrepancy (you can't have your cake and eat it, you know).

        Now then, would all those nice people who downvoted my first post like to explain why my daughters, who until this January paid significantly less on their driving insurance as they passed their test via the accompanied driving scheme, now pay the same swingeing rate as an under-25 male who never did accompanied driving, i.e. the statistically highest-risk category?

        A more useful exercise would be to examine this and other silly rules imposed by the EU and/or the Govt, to identify who else is getting relatively short measure. I can actually think of one or two where men are getting the worse deal.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          passed their test via the accompanied driving scheme

          Who said anything about that? If someone passed their test via the accompanied driving scheme they get a discount, male or female. If the female didn't take the extra training, and the male did then the male would pay less. Don't accuse others of using a straw man argument and turn around and do it yourself.

    4. DavCrav Silver badge
      Joke

      There's your problem

      "I pay a premium because my car has an 's' in the model description, It's a 1600 diesel FFS"

      Should have bought the 1600 Diesel FF then...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      "female driver's premiums"

      "I've never had an accident but I've seen plenty"

    6. Zimmer

      Pensions/Annuities

      Yes, they have been penalising you women since the 90's in this respect.

      The actuarial tables used to calculate the cost of your pensions/annuities showed you lived longer than men and worked(paid in contributions) less. Therefore your Final Salary pensions were comparitively more expensive than men's. (Commutation factors were always higher to reflect this, too, so you got a good deal when commuting pension to a lump sum).

      By then women had become more commonplace in the workplace than ever so a greater burden on the Pensions for less contributions than envisaged 20 or 30 years previously.

      Net result is the 'need' to take away that privileged position to save money (as always) : a levelling down to the same situation as men wil happen (eventually).

      As for Annuities, I reckon it was always more expensive to purchase one for a woman, so that will have to change. (No prizes for guessing that the price of a man's Annuity will go up to compensate and pay for it...)

      Pension: probably the most expensive and valuable thing you will ever purchase . Keep an eye on it.. :)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Equality

      Exactly. The same with health insurance. Some races are more susceptible to certain illnesses. Can the insurance companies "discriminate" there? Of course not.

      People quite rightly want equality, but it they usually start to become very selective when they realise it might work against them. Family law is another great example.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Yes it would.

      It would also be ok to charge black people less for car insurance because they were a statistically lower risk.

      Why do you automatically assume that black people would be a higher risk? I think you have some racial issues that you need to resolve.

    9. mark 63 Silver badge
      FAIL

      The basic fact is that gender has no link to driving skill

      "The basic fact is that gender has no link to driving skill "

      no the basic fact is that women make less claims and cost insurance companies less money because , basicly, they dont drive like knobheads

      -mark

      (a man)

      1. Chika
        Holmes

        Actually...

        What it comes down to is that equality should rule here since there is no reason why women can't be idiots, any more than men can.

        Before we start trading facts Usenet style, we need to be absolutely sure about this one point, and we also need to take into account the number of miles per year done by people in relation to the number of accidents that are reported. It's that ratio that should be applied when judging a person's ability to drive, IMHO.

        Notice that I said "person".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually...

          > and we also need to take into account the number of miles per year done by people in relation to the number of accidents that are reported.

          Perhaps that is why insurance companies ask what your estimated mileage for the year will be.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Statistically prejudiced

        Knobhead may be stretching it, but men have higher speed, more expensive accidents.

        Insurance comes down to this:

        - Apply stereotyping based on statistics, to as narrow a group as reasonably possible.

        - Adjust for individual information.

        - Add as much margin as you can get away with.

        I look forward to a future EU ruling that bars police forces from concentrating resources in high crime areas.

        1. Vic

          Re: Statistically prejudiced

          > Add as much margin as you can get away with.

          There's definitely somerthnig in that.

          I recently rang up for an insurance quote. I was asked whether I'd had any other quotes - I said I had, and told them what it was.

          The new quote was, miraculously, a little cheaper than my previous quote.

          I neglected to let on that the previous quote was from the same company...

          Vic.

          1. Tom 35 Silver badge

            Add as much margin as you can get away with

            When the company I've used for 15 years jacked up my rate 10% (no claims...) I got a much lower price and switched. When I cancelled the old policy they called me up, and offered me a rate a little better then the new policy (magic) even though they said they could not do anything before I switched. Told then they had had their chance and to piss off. They see a loyal customer as a sucker to be ripped off, not someone who should be getting the best deal.

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Paris Hilton

        Not lying is not the same as telling the truth

        Yes, women do have less accidents and claims then men, however stand on any road (except outside your local primary school at 9am in the morning during school term) and you will see a lot less female drivers than male drivers.

        But insurance don’t release figures like that because that would put their own rates for insurance premiums under the microscope, much better to make non specific claims about how young men are more likely to have an accident than anyone else, again without the level of detail to allow such a claim to scrutinised.

        Of course this will put up insurance premiums fro everybody, have you ever heard of anything happening in the insurance industry that brings insurance rates down???? When it comes to excuses for increasing rates the insurance companies have a set of excuses that make’s BOFH excuse of the day seem rational…

        But remember this is not about making woman drivers pay more for their insurance, its about making the insurance companies from ripping off the low hanging fruit (no, not a reference to male genitalia) of young male drivers. Only this morning I was watching a knobhead weaving in and out of the traffic, cutting in on people, in his two year old Audi, the one that looks like a flat VW beetle, age: 50-60!

        Paris, our resident expert in knobheads

      4. steogede

        @mark

        >> no the basic fact is that women make less claims and cost insurance companies less money because , basicly, they dont drive like knobheads

        Do all men drive like knobheads or is it that most knobheads are men? If it is the former then charging men more isn't unfairly discriminatory, however if it is the latter, then the vast majority of men are being penalised because they happen to be of the same gender as most knobheads - which is unfairly discriminatory. Unless insurance companies publish their figures and statistics, we will never know - of course they won't (unless they are forced to).

        Personally I think there is a strong argument for charging everyone the same for car insurance - perhaps using monitoring to charge more for driving more and/or at risky times of day, and drivers of more expensive cars more to cover the greater expense of repairs. The only other fair option I can see, would be for insurers to open their books and prove that they aren't being unfairly discriminatory.

    10. G Murphy
      Facepalm

      Re: The insurance con...

      "every year, yet another above inflation increase"... except that's not true in the slightest, 'inflation' in insurance terms isn't the price of bread at your local supermarket, it's the price of paying claims, which have sky rocketed over the last ten years.

      A little bit of research will show you that in fact the motor insurance industry in particular has barely made a profit over the last 15 years due to increasing claim costs (bad) and rampant competition (good).

      You seem to be coming from a point of view that insurers make ridiculous profits at the expense of joe bloggs. Where on earth have you got that from? Have you confused banks for insurance companies?

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      What will be the next thing these effing do-gooders choose to ban.

      Charging more for those who live in crappy places where the chances of getting you property stolen or vandalised is higher?

      Charging more for drivers who have lots of accidents, they might just suffer from bad luck.

      Charging more because of age; assuming young are inexperienced/stupid/fast, or the old cannot remember where thier going.

    12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        It's not discrimination. It's statistics.

        Can't base premiums on gender anymore, noted.

        If I can check my stats and correlate higher annual make-up expenditure with lower risk of accidents, can I ask about that on the application form?

        "Do you spend more or less than X-median-amount on make-up in an average year?"

        I have no idea what your gender is. Some of the higher responders will certainly be male. But statistically I rather suspect I'll find a correlation between lower risk drivers and make-up spenders.

        1. beerandbiscuits

          @ac 13.15

          Try googling "indirect discrimination" and you will have your answer.

        2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        3. Tom 35 Silver badge

          But statistics can be bent.

          In Canada you pay more premiums for a 2 door car. 2 door covers a lot of the high power cars (toys) that have high costs linked to them. But it also covers cheap, low power commuter cars.

          Statistics show that 2 door cars cost them more, true. Is that an indicator of what is actually going on? No, 2 or 4 doors has nothing to do with it.

          As a result almost no one buys a cheap 2 door if a similar model is available with 4. because it will cost a lot more in the long run.

          And statistics don't tell you much about an individual. I'm male, single, and have never had an accident in 32 years of driving. A close relative of about the same age is female, married, and has written off 3 cars (and a tree, a light pole, and another car) even though their so wonderful statistics say she should be a lower risk.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: RE: Sir.

        "They need to stick to social factors rather than genetic factors such as where you keep your car in terms of judging likeliness of theft, or how many previous accidents you've had. Anything else is just penalising the innocent unfairly, even if they are a minority in their arbitrarily defined group."

        Hear, hear!

        There's an important principle in this, and one that I believe ought to apply generally.

        People shouldn't have to pay more, or be discriminated against, on the basis of facts over which they had no control. But those things that are a matter of choice may legitimately be the basis for subsequent discrimination.

        Women can reasonably be expected to pay equal rates to men, since men and women had equally little choice in which genders they were born with. A woman is just as responsible for a man being born male as that man himself. It's entirely fair that they share the costs, equally, of both their unchosen genders.

        More generally, society as a whole should collectively and fairly bear unchosen costs, since no one in society chose to incur those costs any more than anyone else. But costs that individuals freely choose to incur should, usually, be borne by those individuals. That's just personal responsibility.

        A man, being male, might be more likely to take risks than a woman. But he can choose whether or not to take those risks. He can take gender differences into account by choosing to be particularly careful when driving. If he chooses to take a risk, and crashes, he can then lose his no-claims bonus and subsequently be charged higher premiums. He would then be charged more for taking a risk, not for being male.

        Men, on average, may end up paying more in practice, but it will be those men who have more accidents and make more claims who will be paying more. This is clearly reasonable and just. Those who choose to take more risks end up paying more, while those who keep safe aren't then discriminated against on the basis of gender.

        1. Simon 88
          Stop

          Title

          I agree that basing it on gender is shaky, but I'm not so sure about the general "things you have no control over" part.

          If we move from motor insurance to life insurance for example - people don't have control over some pre-existing conditions, but nobody would expect a cancer patient to get approved on a life insurance policy (or if they did, the premiums would be astronomical).

          By the same token, "being male" is a pre-existing condition in itself - men have shorter life expectancy than women, so now women are going to pay more overall for life insurance despite there being strong medical and statistical evidence to suggest that they aren't as much of a risk as this would suggest?

          Where exactly do we draw the line between "things people can't help" and "obvious reasons that make one person more of a risk than others"?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Title

            "Where exactly do we draw the line between "things people can't help" and "obvious reasons that make one person more of a risk than others"?"

            What I'm trying to say is that the costs of unchosen differences in risk (and unchosen differences generally) should be fairly borne by everyone collectively. (The NHS, at least traditionally, is/was an example of this kind of principle in practice.) How much someone should contribute to the cost of something should be based on how much they chose to contribute to creating that cost in the first place. Differences in cost should not be based on the luck of the draw of birth.

            It may well be the case that, statistically, from the perspective of someone who knows of no other difference between Alice and Bob than the fact that one's female and the other's male, Bob is statistically a higher risk. Bob no more chose this than Alice, so cannot justly be expected to bear any greater cost than Alice. They should bear the cost equally, since they're equally responsible (neither had any choice) for being born with the genders they and each other were born with.

            If Bob then drives unsafely, when he could instead drive particularly carefully, he is making a choice. He can reasonably be expected to bear the costs incurred accordingly (such as once he's crashed and has to pay higher premiums afterwards), without Alice having to pay for the risks she never chose for Bob to take.

            It may well be the case that a greater number of men take bigger risks than women. Neither Bob nor Alice chose for this to be the case (beyond themselves as single individuals, which only makes a tiny contribution statistically), so neither should have to pay more than the other for such correlations between gender and risk. (And if Bob does choose to contribute to such a correlation by not driving carefully, he can then bear his share of the cost accordingly once he crashes.)

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Anonymous Coward 13:07

        im sorry but your talking rubbish, but i do see your point :)

        Being a different colour makes absolutely no difference to your driving

        Being young does, inexperience

        Being a male we are less likely to drive safely as we are more likely to take chances

        Being a young male you are more likely to be inexperienced and take more risks,

        what does that equal? more likely to crash your car, this is proven with statistics, no messing about, young males are involved in more accidents than any other group

        What does all that mean? well it means that if your a safe young male driver your shit out of luck, get over it, drive safe and you will pay less over time, everyone else gets a relatively fair deal.

        Now before you ask, i am a relitively young driver, ive gone through the high payments, and now i pay about the average, ive proven im a safe driver. Is it fair to young men, nope, course its not, but thats not the point, the point is, insurance companies have to pay out to fix things, if the cost to fix things is high then the insurance payments go up, which is why young men pay more, they have taken the less of two evils before now because its even more unfair that the majority of people should pay more then is needed.

        Now what does it all mean, it means everyone who already drives safe will end up paying more for an accidient they are unlikely to ever have.

        Nice one, the needs of the few out weight the needs of the many, story of this countrys life recently.

        1. The Jase

          @Dazzza

          im sorry but your talking rubbish, but i do see your point :)

          Being a different colour makes absolutely no difference to your risk of getting pregnant and leaving work.

          etc, etc, etc to end with

          What does all that mean? well it means that if you're a safe sex young woman you're shit out of luck, get over it. Practice safe sex and you will be paid more over time, everyone else gets a relatively fair deal.

          -------

          Now do you see how innane your example is? Should we try the same exercise with other races or nationalities? How about religions?

    13. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a little bick

      Don't you mean "a lickle bit"?

    14. JohnG

      Men, Women and accidents

      "The basic fact is that gender has no link to driving skill whatsoever and is merely a handy money making stat for insurance companies."

      The statistics for accident claims show that, on average, women have more accidents than men but their accidents tend to be low speed, few or no injuries and low cost. Men on the other hand, whilst having fewer accidents than women are the main culprits when it comes to multiple vehicle, high speed and extortionately expensive accidents. It doesn't really matter whether it is down to driving skill, spatial awareness, over confidence or different journey types - insurance companies only care about the cost of claims.

    15. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Playing the race card

      > Would it be ok to charge black people more for car insurance because they were statistically a higher risk?

      Using your postal code against you will cover that well enough.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Not barmy, Mayan insurance

    I know of fellas who drive carefully (I have myself been accused of driving like a grandad), and of females who drive like maniacs. You can't base driving risk on XX/XY chromosomes.

    Somewhat apt though, is the insurance industry's choice of date for implementation - 21 December 2012, just as the world comes to a Mayan predicted grisly end.

  9. Bernard M. Orwell
    WTF?

    Equality spelled out for them....

    "The judgment goes against the grain of the common sense approach to equality which the UK government wants to see."

    Errrr....what?

    By establishing that prices for a service (in this case insurance) cannot be altered based on the basis of gender it goes against not only common-sense but the "equality that the government wants to see"? WTF? I assume I don't need to point out to my fellow commentators how ridiculous that statement is?

    Pricing based on gender is inequality at work. The insurance companies may well be able to statistically prove that women are "better risks than men", but I wouldn't expect them to do similar analysis on ethnic minorities!

    Why are insurance companies allowed this luxury anyway? Why can't the price of stocks and shares, another risk, change depending on the gender of the buyer? Oh. Wait. Thats discrimination, isn't it?

    The only factors in determining someone's insurance premium should be how long they've been driving, the specifications of the vehicle and whether the driver has a record of accidents.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    On the bright side

    At least this will mean the end of those ghastly "Sheila's Wheels" adverts...

  11. Lockwood
    Thumb Up

    About time!

    I know someone who's a professional driver, and his sister who had two own-fault writeoffs in a year gets to pay less insurance, simple due to possesion of breasts!

    I've always argued that Diamond/Sheila's Wheels should not be allowed to exist: Insurance "for women only". If I made "Bob's Wheels" for men only, the feminist movement would go crazy!

    It's about time that insurance across this board stopped looking at generic statistics and started to look at individual factors more.

  12. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Seems a sensible ruling to me.

    Sorry.

  13. Ragarath
    WTF?

    So prices for Women will go up?

    So as we know the money stealing insurers will just profit from this by putting the prices for women up and not as they should by making them meet in the middle.

    There needs to be a way to control how much they can charge for not actually doing anything.

    Someone hit me up the rear about 2 months ago. Still not seen anything for it. All my insurance company say is that they are saying it was not them. How I have photographic evidence but it still take this long?

    1. Seanmon

      Indeed

      I toyed with the idea of trying to get my last renewal with Sheila's wheels, just to see what would happen. That's their business model down the pan then.

    2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re base driving risk on chromosomes

      Yes, you can. That's what actuaries (among some other things) are there for: they take a given population (eg all motor insurance policies) and start to group it on certain criteria. Doing so they may come to the conclusion that female drivers, in general, are safer drivers. They never make any statements about an individual - we both know that some female drivers do crash their cars as well. On the whole, just not as often as male drivers.

      Whether to allow sex as a distinctive criterion is not an actuarial but a political question.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge
        Coat

        Difference between the sexes

        "Doing so they may come to the conclusion that female drivers, in general, are safer drivers. "

        The papers I've read on it actually say that they have cheaper accidents.

        It's proabably scewed by the 17 year old boy-racers who just have to get to the cinema 10 nanoseconds earlier, even if it means driving at warp factor 9!

        Nowadays, I ask myself what would I do differently if I got home 2 minutes earlier, and just save the diesel instead (don't tell Jeremy Clarkson; he'd have a aneurysm).

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Piro
            Pint

            Driveway moment.. fantastic

            I can relate to that.

        2. Stratman

          title

          " (don't tell Jeremy Clarkson; he'd have a aneurysm)."

          Do tell him, and do the world a favour.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          home 2 minutes earlier

          A lot of bad driving I see doesn't seem to be so much "getting home 2 minutes earlier" but rather seems to be getting one over on everybody else.

          Next time you see people jumping the queue, tailgating to get ahead, waiting til the last minute before barging in on a 2->1 lane reduction, it seems to be some sort of game to emerge victorious vs. the other plebs on the road.

          And we can all stereotype as to the car type/branding etc. etc. it seems more of a mentality that are drawn to perceived premium products.

          Their crashes can be quite spectacular, so high insurance for them?

      2. Nuke
        Meh

        @ Evil Auditor

        >> Doing so they may come to the conclusion that female drivers, in general, are safer drivers.<<

        "Safer" is not the right word here. "Less likely to cause costs in accidents" is what the actuaries find.

        In a given situation I do not notice any significant trend difference between men and women driving. Perhaps women are more polarised between the very cautious and the very aggressive (the latter find that a car gives them a physical power they do not normally have?).

        I think the explanation is quite simple - on average, women drive significantly less distance than men, and the journeys they make are more likely to be around town and so at lower speeds and less damage in a shunt.

        Such a statement may annoy the unisex zealots, but it is fact. I drive ~15,000 miles a year, my wife ~500 miles; just an example, I know.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bang on!

      The no claims bonus seems to do a very good job of personally rewarding people for not having accidents, be they man, woman, retired, teenager, black, white, etc.

      There is no need to gender based (or any other group for that matter) premiums. You earn your no claims through careful driving and experience.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No claims bonus

        A no claims bonus isn't as good/fair/accurate as a no fault bonus - why should I, as a perfect driver, be penalised when someone reverses into me when parked, or shunts me in the rear when stopped at lights?

        Regardless of fault, claims appear against you, and this needs to be fixed.

      2. Joel Mansford
        WTF?

        No CLAIMS bonus

        It's a no claim bonus. Actually, grossly unfair - get hit by an uninsured driver - you'll get penalised. Have someone reverse in to you, claim it back off the third party and you will still be considered a higher risk for 3-5years.

        Unfortunately the best way to deal with it is to use the legal protection cover and if you can never claim on your own insurance - even if you have a 99% chance they'll recover it.

        The ads that talk about "careful" drivers as those with lots of no-claims bonus are insulting and bullshit. It's easy to build up no claims if you drive something that you don't ever care about claiming against!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Joel mansfield etc RE: penalised for a settled non fault

          In general it is bullshit of the highest order that you get penalised for a non-fault claim (that is settled by another party) - of the major insurers only Admiral hold it against you.

          Try it out, go to an insurance website and fill in the details for a quote, then go back and add a non-fault accident where all costs were recovered from the other party and re-submit the details - the quote will be the same.

          Also, regarding building up a no-claims bonus if you don't care about claiming shite - that is fine as long as you never crash into anyone else, cos as soon as they claim against you your choice is either pay up yourself or rack up a fault claim - and the cost of even a small bump is likely to be more than the savings for not claiming. (few years ago I hit another car and wanted to keep it off my insurance (I had 7 years protected no claims) so I got their quote and spoke to my insurance company about options - £400 for the repairs against a premium increase of £8)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't your web monkeys get rid of the title requirement?

      Whilst we're on the subject of advertising perhaps somebody could look into limiting the price comparison website advertising? First on the list: 'Go Compare' and that bloody idiot that never shuts up.

    5. Nick Gisburne
      Go

      Sheila's Wheels kaput

      Sheila's Wheels and their annoying ads may be toast, but we need to press the EU on legislation condemning the exploitation of chubby, wavy-moustached opera singers in advertising. Surely we all agree that the man from Go Compare must die?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      However....

      ....Sheila's Wheels is part of Esure, so that probably means more Michael Winner.

      Its a no-win situation really :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        insurance

        The meerkats can be quite endearing, the singing opera singer mildly amusing after a few pints, but for some reason the animated bint on the confused.com advert does my nut in.

        Also, while we are looking at insurance discrimination - can we lose the "excludes Northern Ireland" clauses already?

        My car is probably safer in central Belfast than some parts of central London.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          chubby moustachioed opera singers

          must be banned from all radio and TV adverts.

          Or killed.

          Whichever is easiest, I have no preference.

    7. Rob Beard
      Facepalm

      Actually...

      ... Diamond insure blokes too. I was surprised anyway, I'm with them (they're just part of Admiral) for insurance on my 206GTI. They turned out to be the cheapest company for insurance (considering my car, and the fault accident I had a couple of years ago).

      Maybe a requirement is just having boobs? Maybe man boobs count :-D

      As far as women being safer drivers go, I'm not so sure. Yes, I'm not a great driver but I've also seen women who aren't great drivers either (like some girl racer a couple of years ago who managed to wedge her Saxo VTS between a tree and a wall by doing stupid speeds in a built up area, sadly she didn't get out in time and died as a result of it).

      I'd say I've seen an equal amount of good male and female drivers and an equal amount of bad male and female drivers (some are just risk takers, and some are dozy buggers who will pull out in front of you without looking!).

      Rob

  14. Lee Dowling Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Insurance

    So, is insurance a blanket cover for possibly eventualities, or is it a person-specific risk-analysis of their particular behaviour. It's fast become the later which basically means that "insurance" is an incorrect term and a waste of time, because you end up basically paying all your own bills for everything you ever incur, rather than have a smaller blanket cover to cope in the event of a one-off rare expense.

    The point of insurance originally was that millions of people would pay into a fund that would then pay those unlucky enough to have a problem needing payment MORE than they could afford in, say, a single year. (Like pensions - everyone pays a bit but not everyone will make it to retirement age, but now that's not true either so we're all just paying for each others retirement, and moaning whenever someone suggests putting up the pension age) Not everyone would claim it, because not everyone would have the problem, but yet everyone pays a small token payment to cover it all.

    Nowadays insurance is basically "You pay it" over a slightly extended period - if you have a rare accident, your premiums skyrocket no matter what company you go to, to recoup that cost in full as quickly as possible. If it wasn't for the fact that certain insurances are compulsory, I wouldn't have any at all - it actually works out cheaper for most things to just save money yourself from the same premiums you would end up paying. I'm honest, though, so in fact what it does to dishonest people is they just stop having insurance and pay the fines for that action instead.

    Take, for example, public liability insurance. I can't be expected to pay someone £1,000,000 compensation overnight because of something stupid that I did, or something totally unforeseen. But the premium payments for such things are *TINY* in comparison because they are so rare, and I can afford that - and so can millions of others who then cover the base costs of the rare accidents. In that situation insurance actually gives the consumer an advantage and a reason to have it. But in car insurance, every single risk category ever available is taken into account so that everyone basically ends up paying their own bills - or, worse, far more than their fair share just because they are male - whether by settling privately, or by paying such HUGE premiums to the insurance companies to cover your costs + their profit that it makes no sense.

    What's needed in certain cases in a specific insurance that covers a lot more people. A compulsory, blanket insurance payment on your road tax, for example, and refused to anyone who has X points on their licence (what they would do at that point is a matter of policy - no be able to legally drive sounds good, but more likely would be that they WOULD be charged extortionate amounts if they wanted to get back on the road - which again brings the same problems eventually). And then you have the problems of uninsured drivers, etc. where your premiums can skyrocket because someone else was deliberately ignoring a legally-required insurance. That shouldn't be happening.

    Insurance of any sort is like a Dixons Extended Warranty. Overpriced, nowhere close to the value of the thing covered, you'll never hope to use it, but if you do you don't want to be charged more for next year just because you have already broken your iPod once this year.

    Insurance can either be one thing or the other - blanket cover for everyone for an equal fair share of the total overall costs, or a particular payment for a specific user (so an accident-free male will never be charged more than an accident-prone female as is currently the case, sometimes). It's currently trying to be both so the insurance companies make larger profit.

    More worrying - what happens is someone provides statistics that Indian drivers are statistically safer than, say, Scottish? Sir Paul Condon-style statments aside, does that mean they are then allowed to charge me based on my nationality? I hope not, and in that case my gender is no more different a piece of information. If you can discriminate on one basis, you can discriminate on all of them, so the insurance companies will have to provide blanket cover with no discrimination or unique, personalised, discrimination and give me a lower premium than any established driver that has had an accident until I actually HAVE an accident. They won't like either, of course, but that's business.

    1. BenR
      Thumb Up

      You're completely correct

      And the most galling thing about the entire affair is that it's still called 'insurance', rather than a more appropriate name: 'tax' or, potentially, 'credit agreement'.

      As you point out, the idea is that you pay a small amount on a regular basis such that should a rare and infrequent incident occur, your costs are covered. This, in my mind, is how insurance SHOULD work.

      If you pay the small fee, have an incident, then have to pay an excess, and then the 'insurance' company pays out the remaining costs, only to recoup those costs from you the next year by putting up your premiums - even if it was a non-fault accident in some cases! - then this isn't insurance. This is a credit agreement - deferred payment.

      This, of course, forgets the fact that the 'insurance' company has already profited greatly from you for the long years between incidents, assuming one has ever occurred at all.

      My mind is drawn to similarities to the TV License, or the BBC Tax as I think of it. It is there to, theoretically, fund the BBC (TV, radio, et al). And yet, you are given no option to NOT pay it, even if you do not wish to partake of the Beeb.

      1. The BigYin

        Well said

        But put the "base" insurance onto fuel, not road fund. Drive more? Drive faster? Pay more. Let your own actions determine your own premium (if you follow me).

        Want more than just third-party/liability? Go buy a top-up from someone.

        No uninsured drivers (how we deal with drivers who fuelled abroad is a good question).

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Lawyers are the problem

      The problem is the insurers aren't really making any money. They are being cleaned out by personal injury lawyers who hound people involved in an accident until they make a claim, even if they aren't injured!

      There's a whole series of information sales in the event of an accident. Your contact details are worth hundreds and get sold to car rental places, garages and so on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @giles

        I agree about the PI claims, but I still think you're letting the Insurance companies of the hook too lightly.

      2. Erroneous Howard

        Re:Lawyers are the problem

        I've been hounded by one of these personal injury claims companies due to a non-fault accident I had about a year ago (someone not paying attention hit the back of my car in a queue of traffic). I was not injured and therefore decided I need not claim anything other than to fix the damage to my car. However, on the one occasion that I actually spoke to one of these people they made me feel like I was missing out by NOT claiming. In fact, although I told them I was uninjured, I was told that "everyone else claims anyway", and "nobody could prove I did not get whiplash" if I decided to claim for it. I was practically being told that I should be dishonest and make a fraudulent claim for an injury I did not get.

        It's this sort of shit that puts everyone's insurance premiums up and you can tell by the falling profits of insurance companies that it is hitting them hard (Direct Line for example swung around £450 million from £200m profit to £250m loss). If it were my decision, I'd make everyone attempting to claim from insurance take a lie detector test (or perhaps a random selection) - it'd still be cheaper than the payout on the false claims, and especially these no-win, no-fee type claims.

        I've always objected to women paying lower insurance prices than men, and even thought about trying to get insurance from Shiela's Wheels and then taking them to court based on their blatent sexism. Every day I see women driving like idiots, either aggressively (one this morning almost took out another lane of traffic trying to veer between lanes queue-dodging) or "without a clue" - the latter of these cause plenty of accidents while hardly every being "at fault". Last Friday, three (yes three) separate women drivers almost caused accidents at roundabouts within my sight (one directly in front of me) by cutting across deciding they wanted to turn right from the left-lane.

        So I agree that insurance should not be gender-based, just like it should not be race-based. At the same time, something needs to be done about the "injury" claims which are becoming more commonplace as I think it's ridiculous to seek a couple of grand based on having a slightly sore neck for a few days (or at least saying you did.....).

        1. Vic

          Re:Lawyers are the problem

          > Direct Line for example swung around £450 million

          There might be a number of reasons for that.

          I got a quote from Direct Line a few months back. it was almost exactly *double* the price I actually paid, for the same level of cover...

          Vic.

        2. The Jase

          Lie detector

          "If it were my decision, I'd make everyone attempting to claim from insurance take a lie detector test "

          They don't work. A lie detector is an interrogation tool it has no value in "detecting lies".

          Case in point: You do not like drugs. You watched your best mate Craig die from a bad e-tablet. In fact you hate drugs because of it.

          You are giving a lie detector test and are asked "do you take drugs". Becuase of your past, that question is offensive. You react to that offensive question.

          The machine says you are a liar and a drug taker.

          They "confirm" this by asking the question again later.

          This becomes more offensive because you think "what the hell was wrong with my first answer?" and thus the machine brands you a drug-taking liar.

          So put that into the mix of a person actually having being hurt in an accident, you are pretty much guaranteed to have the machine blip and call them a lair.

    3. Mark 65

      CTP is what you're after

      This is about the only smart thing I've seen regarding transport in Australia, or at least the part I live in. When you pay your annual vehicle registration you also pay your compulsory third party insurance. Same rate for everyone. If you then go on to fully comprehensive that's your choice and you shop around for it.

      1. bobbles31

        Australia is a good example of how it should work

        Because of the addition of 3rd party insurance with the registration the percentage of uninsured drivers is considerably less meaning you have true insurance. Everyone pays for the few unfortunates.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Insurance

      You are correct here.

      Insurance began as a form of Gambling by merchant sailors. They soon discovered that by everyone placing a bet against the risk of their ship not returning home into a fund that they could cover the loss of a ship not returning with that fund.

      You are taking a bet against the odds of something bad happening and if it happens you win.

      People forget that like proper gambling the system ONLY WORKS BY SPREADING THE COST amongst ALL who contribute to the central fund!

      People who complain that they shouldn't have to pay for Mr Boy Racer or his Girl racer girlfriend (equality there!) When they prang forget that is the way the system works the fund is there to be used by those unlucky enough to have an accident and meet the terms of the policy for all who pay in...

      God I hate insurance.

  15. Thomas 18
    Go

    ethics

    You shouldn't have to pay higher premiums because of how you were born. Be it gender, genetics or race. It might not make businesses sense but businesses don't care about ethics. It's the governments job to ensure that everyone gets the same deal.

    Age, education, income etc are all different because people can change them with work/time.

  16. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Down

    As a guy...

    .. I really don't understand this judgement.

    It won't make premiums any cheaper for men.

    If women are *statistically* less likely to make insurance claims, be they medical, motor or otherwise, then surely logic dictates they should pay a commensurately lower premium.

    Insurance isn't a science, it's an calculated assessment of risk. If you remove a key variable from this calculation then all you're going to get is inaccurate output. You aren't going to magically make men better drivers or have them live longer just by saying "take gender out of the equation".

    Anyone who thinks this will lead to men's premiums coming down is deluding themselves. The likely conclusion is that women's premiums will go up, and everyone pays a more vaguely calculated premium due to the fact the insurance companies - who still have to assess risk irrespective of any judgement - have less data to work with.

    1. Steve Sherlock
      Trollface

      Re: ethics

      "Age, education, income etc are all different because people can change them with work/time."

      Same goes for gender, but maybe that's a bit extreme to save a few quid on your car insurance.

      Of course, if you did take that option recently, you're going to be pretty peed off now.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Wrong

      Women have more accidents on the road than men. They just have less serious ones that cost less to repair.

      Men do the job properly and write the car off and few others in the process :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Well said.

        Statistically we have accidents at a slow speed and only need minor repairs whereas statistically men, especially young men, have higher speed accidents writing off the car, themselves and often other people.

        Which costs less to fix: a broken tail light or a broken person?

        I know most people can identify a 'girl racer' or a man who's driven for 40 years and never claimed.

        But those are exceptions, gender is a risk factor in insurance (whether car or medical) so it should be reflected in the premiums.

        1. Wize

          We have a good way to discriminate against bad drivers...

          ...its called the no-claims bonus.

          Besides, it may be a low speed accident, but its going to squish a child if its in the middle.

          1. ChrisC

            Low speed doesn't always mean low cost

            The way most new/new-ish cars are designed, you could rack up a 4-figure repair bill just by giving certain parts of the bodywork a slightly hefty tap, and then there's the cost of providing a temporary replacement vehicle whilst the damage is being repaired...

            1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

              @ChrisC

              I had a minor bump with a Jaguar last year. It was low-speed, low-impact, flat-on (so no piercing corners) on a roundabout, with no other cars involved, and both cars drove happily away immediately afterwards and on to their destinations.

              Normally, you don't find out how much things like that cost but because the insurance companies were arguing and bringing in solicitors I had a rare insight into the cost:

              £5500 for a new bumper for the Jag.

              £4000 for a hire car for the owner while the work was done.

              Considering my insurance was only £1000 a year, I had a good deal. I repaired my own car privately because I only had third-party insurance. A new bonnet, bumper and headlights came to a grand total of £100, fitting was free (but less than a day's work), (so you can tell the damage was ENORMOUS....) and hiring a car for the day would have cost me about £100 again with something like those StreetCar deals (even if you weren't already a member, and including comprehensive insurance for the StreetCar). My car passed an MOT a year later without any additional work to correct the repairs or anything. Call it even double-or more than price and still it doesn't come close to the price the insurer's were paying each other for the claim.

              And then you wonder why insurance companies charge so much. Technically, I have to be their customer for 9 more years, accident free, before they start making profit on me - and I'm hardly a boy racer, and they renewed my insurance this year for the exact same price even though everyone else's went up by 50% or so last year.

        2. Lee Dowling Silver badge
          FAIL

          Okay

          Okay, so let's say that Indian drivers crash more than Scottish ones (or the other way around, I don't really care and aren't trying to be racist).

          Obviously, that means we can charge them more, right? Because they are statistically more likely to have a crash, that makes it okay, doesn't it?

          If a simple extension of your argument leads to such (illegal) absurdity, then you have to be very careful about thinking through the consequences of your original argument. That's what the courts have done in this case.

          "Sagittarians can get cheaper insurance with us!"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        RE:Wrong

        In the early days of motoring and motor insurance, men drove more than women and had a higher risk exposure so got charged more.

        Also back then they had a lot more disposable income than women and it was more profitable to charge them more.

        Why would those honest insurers stop such a profitable habit in this post feminist 21st century unless regulated to do so?

    3. JimC

      >are all different...

      But they don't need to be... Insurance is just a pooling of risk. Loads of people pay so that a few people aren't stuffed.

      Ar one extreme legislation could exist so that everyone pays the same premium, which would be the maximum pooling of risk, at the other end Insurance companies could attempt to tunr the premiums down almost to the individual, so that the crazy kid down the road pays 50,000 a year and your perfectly sensible teenage son of the same age pays 50... The astute reader will note that the latter bears a distinct resemblanc to no pooling of risk at all...

  17. Peter Galbavy
    Facepalm

    flatten all premiums

    Well, to go back to basics, if insurers based their premiums on micro-grained risk assessment so that they could get an accurate risk for individuals that would wipe out the need for insurance - because all you would be doing is paying into a savings account against a future event PLUS a hefty profit to the insurer to manage it. Which they do anyway.

    Surely, in an idealised world, for a particular class of events all premiums should be identical and the risk spread evenly across the board. People who took the piss (i.e. acted recklessly) would fall afoul of the small print and the rest would have a shared pot to actually benefit from when things went wrong ?

    Other things which could be useful to help us pick a "good" insurer (no such thing): Require insurers to publish audited figures of claims - how many amde and how much for, how many refused, average and std dev of processing times, complaints (that's already published I think) and so on.

  18. Alastair Dodd 1
    WTF?

    I thought they were already increasing the premuims

    I guess they are now in preparation and will again next year when it comes in. Nice double gouge by the rippoff Insurance companies (how much profit last year?)

  19. alcopops
    Thumb Up

    Most men are good drivers...

    so why should only men and all men bear the brunt of the dangerous few. If it's acceptable to use gender as a factor when charging for services then why not tax females more, after all they use more of the NHS, work less, and earn less!

  20. honkhonk34
    Mushroom

    say what you like

    statistically men have more accidents than women. we agree on this, yes?

    It's an oversimplification though; there is still a reasonable proportion of women who have accidents, yet because that group is smaller than bad male drivers they have access to cheaper insurance... which when you think about it, makes no sense.

    Safe drivers - regardless of gender, age or background - should be paying less than unsafe drivers. To think that anything else is remotely equal is absurd.

    1. The BigYin

      And this is why...

      ...we have no claims discounts and discounts extra security, extra training (e.g. RoSPA) etc.

      I think (I may be wrong) that the stats say women have more accidents, but men have BIG ones; so end up costing more.

      Either way, if the impartial facts show women are less risk, then I see no problem with them paying less (I am male, BTW). I pay less than a 21 year old as the stats say I am safer/more experienced. I don't see why gender is any different.

    2. EvilGav 1

      Based on which statistic ??

      If you mean by the simple x number of men drive and have y accidents versus n number of women drive and have m accidents, then it is true that women have fewer accidents.

      However, if you base it on x number of men drive z miles per year and have y accidents versus n number of women drive c miles per year and have m accidents, then the reverse is true.

      The number of accidents per mile driven by men is considerably lower, mostly due to the extremely high mileage drivers being predominantly male.

      1. The BigYin

        And therein lies the problem...

        ...the stats are not public. And where they are public (bloody hard to find) they are not often comparable.

        I like the measure "per billion passenger kilometres" for events like this, but we don't pay by distance, we pay by time. Men drive more, so may still pose a higher risk (even if the X per billion passenger km is lower). Dunno, the stats are not public (well, they're bloody hard to find if they are).

        We could get into a discussion over what constitutes "safer" and to whom (occupants, other road users or society).

        One thing I will guarantee you though, the ins.cos have not been charging women less out of the goodness of their hearts!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      gggrrr

      "statistically men have more accidents than women. we agree on this, yes?"

      Err,well, hmm... NO I DON'T BLOODY WELL AGREE...

      Women have FAR more accidents than women, but most are minor bumps and knocks than men. the damage quite often below the excess or only marginality above it. It really does not makes sense to make a claim.

      Men on the other hand, when they have an accident will generally write off the car.... and one or two others with it....

      It has been proven a few years back that men have a superior spacial awareness than women. that's why we don't back up into bollards or lampposts or parked cars....

      The cost of mens claims is higher than those of women.

      1. EvilGav 1

        The other point being . . .

        . . . men are far more attached to their car than women and are more likely to get *all* bumps and scrapes fixed, whereas women aren't.

        In a similar vein to the mileage above, men are more likely to be fleet drivers, sales reps and so on, so all bumps and scrapes are paid for by company car insurance and get seen to far more than the average motorist.

  21. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    As devil's advocate ...

    Would you prefer to lend a tenner to someone who has a track record of paying that back promptly or to someone who has track record of forever promising they'll pay it back next week?

    The theory is sound in charging higher premiums where there's greater risk (or higher interest rates where there's likelihood of default in my example) but where it falls down is the wide-sweeping and black and white categorisation of male and female.

    Few people would, if honest, have a problem with, "your premiums are higher because you've written off five cars in a decade than the driver who's got a clean record for years", but to be penalised because some of your sex are crap or unlucky drivers is little more than collective punishment, and the opposite is unfair advantage - exactly what sex equality seeks to eliminate.

    The trouble is we don't want personalised premium rates but no one can agree how to make a fair average risk assessment or the group that encompasses. If you fall in a favoured group that's great but not otherwise. The answer is to treat everyone collectively or individually.

  22. Jon Press

    It's your pension, too, lads...

    This isn't just about motor insurance. Most men who pay into a pension scheme will see their pension at retirement fall in order to increase the pensions of longer-lived women (whose annuity rates have traditionally been lower).

  23. Chris Holt
    WTF?

    Define fair...Insurance companies *assess risk*

    While everyone is complaining about this, remember the insurance compaines do a huge amount of data mining to assess risk. Male/Female, Young/Old, Black/White, London/Highlands etc etc they know what likelyhood is that people will claim. Its a fine art and its not unfair unless you are in the higher risk category with multiple writeoffs and you pay the same as someone who has never had an accident. Its not sexist, racist, ageist, regionist, its profiling and its what insurance compaines *do* - they assess risk.

    Hell, some companies change the premium if you are on Firefox not IE. Gender is the least of the issues.

    Of course, I don't trust the insurance companies not to blatently inflate premiums for no good reason - how else do they price match? That is the real issue, the EU are just nuts IMHO

  24. Captain TickTock
    Trollface

    Glorified Bookmakers

    All insurance is a bet between you and the insurer on the odds of something happening.

  25. Mike Tree

    So where will it stop?

    First Gender....

    Why not age? There's a biggy. Why should I only pay £300 when my nephew has been quoted £3000. That's not fair, is it?

    Well actually it is!

    They also weight premiums on location too, and job, and probably many other things we haven't thought about.

    Is this the first of many changes?

    1. Benedict

      titles are not necessary

      Would you be in favor of discriminating on grounds of race or sexual orientation then? After all there is bound to be variation in risk among the groups.

      As a previous poster said it should be based on your history alone, driving length and your history in that time. If you don't have any driving history you would expect to be worse off that a driver with clean history as there is nothing to judge you by, like with credit ratings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And if you don't have a "history"

        What better way to estimate the risk than based on historical data of people you share attributes with.

        The alternative is for the insurance company to set a huge premium to cover the unknowable risk, but then how many policies would they sell..

        The insurance companies would sort people into risk groups based on hair colour and inside leg measurement it it showed a correlation.

    2. David Hicks

      Maybe...

      Maybe when your nephew has 20 years experience they'll offer the same to him.

      What do you mean it's not possible to get 20 years experience by age 17?

      He's just not trying hard enough...

    3. bobbles31

      Past performance is no guarantee of blah blah blah

      Let me take a stab at that for you....

      (TotalCostOfClaims per year / Total Number of Policies) * 2 = universalPremiumForAll

      hows that for a means of calculating a premium, all policies equally cover all accidents. Double it to give the insurers a 50% margin from which they can take their costs and there you go.

  26. Dave Evans 1
    Megaphone

    About bloody time!

    I have just got my insurance on my new car. I have not had an accident or claim in the last 12 years, yet adding 2 female named drivers onto my policy (1 with 3 points on her licence and the other with 2 accidents in the last 3 years at over £5000 claimed!) reduced the quote by over £250. Someone tell me how that works????

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Angel

      You didn't do Statistics in school did you?

      You probably studied Common Sense instead - fat lot of good it did you eh?

  27. LPF

    Absolute Rubbish

    The insudtray is based on imperial stats, which groups are likely to have the biggest most expensive accidents.

    Simply put the biggest risks are young , single men becuase in general they tend to like to impress they girlfriends with their pathetic driving prowess to make up for lack of sill in bed, and end up killing maiming multiple people.

    This is not descripmination , its just plane fact Men are a bigger risk that women behind a wheel. All this will mean is that womens insurance will go up, becuase no way in hell will anyone with an once of brain lower the money they charge men, the states don't lie!

    I say you want lower preiums, get a 1.0 litre petrol car otherwise stop whining like girls!

  28. alain williams Silver badge

    So - no discrimination at all ?

    Presumably this applies as well for discrimination on:

    * age

    * driving ability

    * medical factors (including people who are alcoholics)

    What complete nonsense!

  29. Mad Mike
    Thumb Down

    Gender does matter

    For those of you who say gender doesn't matter in insurance, I'm afraid you're scientifically wrong. Men and women have different brains and it is scientifically proven that (for instance) men (on average) have better map reading and spatial awareness than women. Similarly, it can be proven that women on average are better than on other things. All this is averages and obviously there are exceptions to this all over the place. However, the averages are true.

    In reality, women have more accidents than men (contrary to popular belief), but they are significantly smaller in value and therefore the overall value of the claims for women is less than men. So, as premiums are based on averages for some factors (such as sex) and are personal for some factors (driving history), it makes perfect sense to use sex as a determinator.

    Some existing laws make rating difficult as there are claims differences (on which these averages are based) between races, ages and all sorts of other factors that are rapidly becoming 'isms. Some of these are already banned, so you could argue that taking sex out is simply removing one more rather than something new.

    To those who believe we should revert to an older style of insurance and simply average claims across the whole driving population, this doesn't really work. Firstly, the overall effect would be to lower high risk drivers premiums and increase low risk drivers premiums. Some will like this, other won't. Secondly, nobody will see any benefit from driving safely (from an insurance point of view) and therefore history shows people take less care. If they have an accident, it doesn't affect their premium, so from an insurance point of view, who cares. Lastly, the whole insurance market is hugely competitive at the moment (contrary to some peoples view), with companies competing for low risk customer, some specialising in high risk etc. An old style insurance system would radically decrease the competition and would probably increase the total insurance premiums as a result. The only way round this is to so regulate the market that you might as well make it state owned!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Ever heard of a driving test?

      All of your points fail at the Driving Licence Regulations.

      When you get old you have to get medical approval to have your licence renewed.

      When you learn to drive if you have no ability you don't pass the test and don't get a licence.

      The DVLA MUST be informed of medical conditions, and they can and DO withdraw licences.

      This is nothing to do with insurance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmmmm

      I'm guessing you're a woman, men generally take more care over their spelling and grammar.

      This is not "descripmination" just a "plane" fact (what, like lift co-efficient or stall incidence?) based on shit that I've just made up from the content and quality of your writing... see, I can pull made up facts out of my arse too. I'm not saying that young, single men are NOT a bigger risk to insurance companies - but I'd be bloody amazed if you'd actually seen any of this empirical evidence (not "imperial stats", pet) and weren't just parroting off sound-bites you'd heard your mum use, that best fit your own preconceived, prejudiced, beliefs.

      Still, I bet YOU won't get an insurance quote for upwards of £800 for a 56 plate, 1.4 Corsa despite having NEVER made a claim in more than 15 years of driving? Any why? Because I'm male, under the age of 35 and unmarried (I've been with my partner for more than a decade - we're just not married).

      Yes - I'm sick of being lumped in with the high-testosterone, Kappa tracksuit wearing, low-IQ, knuckle dragging Neanderthals of this world just because I happen to have a pair of testicles... as I'm sure is the case with many other male commentards.

    3. Martin
      Thumb Down

      "...scientifically proven that men are better..."

      Check out "The Myth of Mars and Venus" by Deborah Cameron before you make statements like this.

      The vast majority of the so-called "better" performance is to do with early conditioning and education. Would you assert that it can be scientifically proved that men are better software engineers than women?

      1. Mad Mike
        Thumb Up

        @Martin

        Errrrrr. You've just agreed with me!! I never said why men are better at some things and women are better at others. I just said it was scientifically proven. Whether it's due to genetics, chromosones or early conditioning, I didn't specify, don't care and neither do the insurers. It's still statistically true.

        Also, whilst some is about early conditioning, some is also directly to do with the persons sex as has been shown many times in university studies. They've mapped peoples brains whilst performing the same task and men and women show radically different results, indicating greater or lesser use of certain portions of the brain. Men and women are different and no amount of legislation or good intentions will change that. It's just that society needs to accept it and play to peoples strengths rather than be fearful of differences all the time.

        And yes, race also makes a difference. Statistically, if you want a good long distance runner, there are certain races that you would look in as statistically they show a greater aptitude for this. Same with other things as well. It's not being racist. It's simply accepting that different races have developed different traits due to the conditions around at the time. Of course, this is now reducing due to increases in inter-breeding and greater freedom of movement. However, when one group of humans largely interbred and stayed within a small(ish) area of the world, nature would naturally tune them to that environment. And this is exactly the circumstances that have existed throughout human history until relatively recent times.

  30. Just Thinking

    Fairness?

    My insurance went up, in part I believe, due to a string of (other peoples') minor accidents in the local area caused by parking problems.

    I've never been involved in any of these accidents, and as a careful driver I am probably less of a risk than many of the idiots I see flying round in the middle of the road. OTOH I probably have a greater risk of being hit by one of those idiots than I would if I lived in a wide road full of houses with off road parking.

    I can't stop my neighbours parking like morons, but even though I have a drive myself I still get lumbered with charges for their behaviour.

    Is that any more fair than taking gender into account? Sure I can move house, but that is probably more traumatic and expensive than changing gender.

  31. Jemma Silver badge
    FAIL

    *sigh*

    Its a fundamental scientific fact that the reactions to a given situation of the two genders are always different.

    If someone overtakes a woman driver she is unlikely to drop it two cogs and try and race you - she is also unlikely to choose a car thats been so ragged that it sounds like a terminally ill Whitley, is more rust than bodywork and more filler than either. just because it has a huge great exhaust.

    However, since there is the difference between the two, in that one is aggressive and one is (generally) more passive - it is there that the accidents happen. The one expects the other to act and decide like them, and hence the emergency services are called.

    And for all those concerned about the potential changes - you can probably rest assured. My own personal experience seems to denote that even major insurance companies have no idea of the law in this country as it stands now - let alone how it will change.

    The point I am trying to make is simple - each gender have their strengths and weaknesses - and all in all they probably equal each other out. Therefore the bias towards lower premiums for women has probably been historically unfair. I know from personal experience with my parents driving - that whilst my mother was much slower as far as speed goes, I was a sight less terrified when he was driving than my mother.

    It doesnt really matter much anyway, the prices are stupid for what is basically nothing more than a government mandated sucker bet - and when you do call them out you get done over on the sub clauses anyway.

    If people want insurances to be fair and correct and actually pay out when they are supposed to then they should be more concerned with protesting to the government about the ridiculous increases and all the rest - not bitching about how much they are paying on the basis of their hormones.

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Downvote me all you like...

        ...but if you make an assertion that reaction times vary with ethnicity, I want to see evidence, because you implying that either the way people's neurons work on a fundamental level, or the higher level structure of the brain, varies by race, and I seriously doubt that this is true.

        You are also saying that some ethnicities have a lower IQ than others. I would like to see the evidence for this also, properly controlled for socio-economic status and education. I would also like to know which ethnicities you think are smarter than which others.

        If you are unable to supply me with the facts underlying your claims, then I think I am quite justified in calling you a racist.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Call me whatever you like.

          You can call me what ever you like it does not make you right, or me wrong. I stand by my comment and the citation provided (for a start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence) as requested, I would also strongly encourage you to re-read what I wrote. Just because it is proven does NOT mean it should be used in insurance, just like gender! I am a strong believer that insurance is about sharing all the positives and negatives however they come about.

          Does this really make me a racist? or would that be if I said it should be used in insurance?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        Citations

        Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_intelligence

        Then you can read the 180 references also.

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. JudeKay (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Citation, try this:

          Really? Your citation is from Wikipedia? On a level playing field - nutrition, education and cultural bias out of the equation- there is no bloody difference in intelligence (It's easy to find the data goes a certain way when certain assumptions precede the collection of data). And the standardised IQ test is pretty bloody suspect too. http://www.nootropics.com/intelligence/mismeasure.html. Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote extensively on the topic. I hope you are just trolling. Subject closed!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Alert

            Re: Citation, try this:

            Hi Jude first welcome to el reg, yes we all rip wiki but the important bit is the 100 references it enables us to refer too.. Anyway I'm happy to use your metric if you prefer. We should not base insurance on Sex or " nutrition, education and cultural bias " or any other METRIC.

            I happen to agree IQ tests are rubbish there are too many corrective factors to make them worthwhile, we all know this and do NOT want to be measured by them just as we do NOT want to be measured by sex, age or height (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Height_and_intelligence wiki again, so read the refernces) We also know who is more likely (statistically) to win an Olympic marathon or an Olympic swimming event, the point is to accept and embrace, not deny the differences exist.

            1. The Jase

              Race

              "We also know who is more likely (statistically) to win an Olympic marathon or an Olympic swimming event,"

              The person who has some natural ability coupled with a lot of training?

              Perhaps someone from a country that requires a lot of long distance movement and has a lower education standard (due to economics) would be better at the marathon due to having to travel those distances without the benefit of a car for a lot of their life, while not getting as much schooling as say someone in the first world.

              While someone who has had access to a pool and been swimming all their life would be better at a swimming event.

              Whatcha think?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Alert

                Whatcha think?

                yes exactly!

                This point is tainted to make you assume a mental picture.. in reality the answer is one of many, taller people over shorter, Thinner people over Fat, Young over the old etc etc. if you are offended in some way, then that is your own perception of what the point is making...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            This made me laugh..

            Original poster said lower IQ (Presumably referring to IQ testing as there is no other 'IQ') should not be used, Cue uproar.. and bashing.. Mod comes in deletes OP and posts "standardised IQ test is pretty bloody suspect " well isn't that kind of the OP's point? oh well...

    2. Fab De Marco

      Car Choice?!

      But.... she is likely to choose a car thats been so ragged that it sounds like a terminally ill Whitley, just because it is pink

      OK I'm sexistly generalising here but it's not worse than what you've just done. The point being made is that the isurance companies are genera;ising. My Neighbour drives an Integra Type R, with aformentioned big exhaust and she is female. If I wanted to drive the same car as her, my insurance would probably be more. Even though I have more driving experience.

      Anyway, as you say, we're all f**ked whatever happens. Happy 5th of July everyone!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Jemma. *even bigger sigh*

      "If someone overtakes a woman driver she is unlikely to drop it two cogs and try and race you"

      (1) she very well may actually do so, you can't say absolutely every single woman wouldn't - you are basing a statement on a stereotype that is just as offensive as saying that women should pay more because we all know they can't reverse or park and they hang their handbags from the choke*

      (2) Not every bloke will drop it and race you either, for the same reasons as above

      "-he is also unlikely to choose a car thats been so ragged that it sounds like a terminally ill Whitley, is more rust than bodywork and more filler than either. just because it has a huge great exhaust."

      Which is a completely fucking different kettle of cats altogether - no-one is trying to say insurance premiums shouldn't be based in part on the actual car being insured. To claim men are more likely to buy X type of car so should be pre-emptively penalised is as sensible as prosecuting all women because they are equipped to be prostitutes.

      "However, since there is the difference between the two, in that one is aggressive and one is (generally) more passive"

      And here we see your agenda. You are a sexist pig. Now, if you had said "one is more aggressive and the other more passive", or "one is (generally) more aggressive and the other (generally) more passive" then you would be opening the doors to at least an attempt at a rational discussion, but it appears you have already succumbed to your prejudices and so that is that - can I ask, were you carved by a boy racer this morning?

      "....each gender have their strengths and weaknesses...."

      Insurance should be about individuals, not arbitrary differentiations like gender or age group or ethnicity or religion or sexual preference or hair colour or whatever.

      "It doesnt really matter much anyway, the prices are stupid for what is basically nothing more than a government mandated sucker bet - and when you do call them out you get done over on the sub clauses anyway."

      The prices are high I agree, but one of the problems is the arbitrary rules the insurance companies are forced into using - however what you need to look at is what the cost of an accident is likely to be, especially compared to the premiums paid - even a small dent can cost upwards of £400 to get sorted if done at a dealer - and if my car is damaged by someone else I damn well expect it to be repaired properly, with genuine parts and qualified staff.

      You only get done over on the sub clauses if you do something wrong (or are a bit thick) - in the last 20+ years I have been driving I have had to make something like 10 claims - 4 fault and the rest non fault (for interest only two of the non-faults were blokes who hit me) and the only grief I have had with insurance companies is once when they kept failing to reply to the bloke I crashed into (to the point his insurance company sent the police round - my how I laughed - and how my insurance company compensated) and another time when the assessor tried to bullshit me on the extent of the damage to my car.

      But I have never modded a car and failed to declare it, or claimed it is garaged when it is not, or lied about my annual mileage, or insured someone else as a named driver when they were in fact the main driver, or anything like that. If you think you have been robbed why don't you explain the circumstances so we can all sympathise.

      And finally, I am very glad that insurance is mandatory - without that you would have real trouble recovering any money from other parties, especially of something really serious happened like a critical injury or death.

    4. Vic

      Oooh look - some sexism.

      > she is unlikely to drop it two cogs and try and race you

      You have no evidence to support that.

      My own experience[1] is that women may take being overtaken by a car with better grace, but are far more likely to react with overt aggreession when passed by a bicycle or motorcycle. I cycle to work at the moment, and it's always the women that try to take me off for having the temerity to try to get through a traffic jam they can't...

      Vic.

      [1] ...Which has no statistical significance, of course...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Was the difference based on

    biological sex at birth, biological sex at present, or gender identity?

  34. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Yay!

    No more "Sheila's Wheels" adverts. Result!

    On a sensible note, one has to ask what the situation would be like if women's insurance cost more than men's? I suspect there would be outcry that this was an unfair situation and that premiums should be the same.

    Personally, I don't like paying more than the fairer sex for my car insurance, but understand and accept the reasons behind it. The genders are, after all, different in many ways. On the whole (and yes, this is a generalisation), men are more likely to engage in high-risk activities, and are more likely to suffer from certain health problems, such as heart attacks, as well as being less likely to suffer from other health problems, such as heart failure, or die in childbirth.

    Many people seem to confuse equality of rights with equivalence. Men and women should have the same rights, but this does not mean that men and women are the same thing.

    Some people might argue, as the European Court appears to have done, that equal rights extends to the right to be seen as the same in the eyes of the insurance industry. I think that maybe this argument is a little fallacious. On a personal level, I won't complain if my insurance premiums go down, fair or not.

  35. Fab De Marco

    In a perfect world.....

    The insurance companies will meet in the middle, as mentioned before. Mens premiums go down, womens premiums will go up... But we are not in a perfect world.

    I have always said that gender should never play a part in insurance. Sure "Statistically" more men are involved in accidents. But "statistically" the average person in the UK has 1.8 legs, you won't let that change your opinon when you look down and count.

    The fact of the matter is that ther are more male drivers on the roads than female drivers. If you isolate this figure as a snapshot of cars on the motorway where more expensive accidents occur, then the ratio goes up. So if you look at a situation whereby a woman driver skids on a patch of oil, spins and in the course of events takes out 4 other cars driven by men. the stat would read 4 male drivers involved in accidents 1 female driver involved.

    From an insurance point of view is that accurate? No. Because 4 men were just minding their own business and it was not the womams fault that the accident occured, it was poor road maintenance. But the stats would stand and all the men in the UK would be punished for it.

    Similar thing goes for driving experience, you can have a stay at home housewife/husband, doing the school run, shops and occasional day out doing 6k miles per year. On the other hand you can have a sales rep, travelling up and down the customer 5 days per week as part of their job doing 40k miles per year. In a single year both of these examples will be awarded with their annual gift of 1 years no claims bonus. But which has accrued more driving experience?

    But all this fact finding is far too costly, its better to pick a random number out of thin air then double it, quote done!

    I know that a lot of people have said that you can't discriminate by location. I have to disagree with you on that one. As it is not just accidents covered but theft too. And if your post code shows a high figure of car related crime/vandalising/etc then the stat would stand. But what does get my goat is the fact that I moved from one town to another, I was in the middle of a premium and I had to pay an additional cost due to the change in address (this was not and admin fee, that was paid on top). 2 years later I moved again back to the first town and the same thing happened. Now either car crime in my town ballooned in the last two year or insurers will just look for any excuse to take money from you.... It's not like you can opt not to have it,

    1. Captain TickTock

      On the other hand...

      ...Your sales rep is exposed to more risk on the road than your stay at home housewife/husband.

      It all depends on how the bonus is offered, but yes, it ought to be proportional to the miles survived

      unscathed.

      1. Jason 24

        Just to put a spanner in the works

        I actually got £50 knocked off when I moved from a town to a village just outside the town, so it's not always both ways that add costs on.

        I still feel it was £300+ over what I should have been paying on a 1.4 16v 5 door Astra at 23 years of age, no one is boy-racing around in a 5 door and I've logged the car as being used for business use as I can't do my job without it!

  36. Shakje
    WTF?

    Generally isn't it quite simple?

    There's men, women, and some tiny, statistically insignificant group who might be in-between. Either men or women will have more accidents, it's never going to be a split down the middle. The thing is, I would expect that this ruling could actually make business better for insurance companies, because the perceived differences between men and women are actually going to be down to similarities in lifestyle (there's nothing that suggests women should be better at driving except maybe the multi-tasking experiments). By having to actually look at those differences in lifestyle, it'll give insurance companies a better picture of the person they're quoting for. Regardless, making it into a split between men and women rather than a split based on different lifestyles has nothing to do with one being better than the other, but is simply a reflection on tradition. Want to analyse population? Best split it into men and women. There's no real reason for this sort of split, and I challenge someone to actually come up with a good reason as to why that split should exist. You might as well run some stats up on people with moustaches and see how it turns out.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    next

    Next step - equal rights for 17-year-olds, & bump insurance premiums up to a few grand for everyone.

    BTW, in answer to women living longer query earlier -

    Q. Why do men die before their wives?

    A. Because they want to.

  38. mark 63 Silver badge
    Flame

    its all bullshit anyway....

    Insurance company pricing stratagies are all crap anyway

    How else do you explain TPFT insurance being the same (if not more) than fully comp?

    Protected no claims? what kind of crap is that? admittedly it works in the customers favour but i still dont think its right - You've either claimed or not, and should be penalised appropriately.

    The insurance companies have lost sight entirely about what a "No claims discount" is !!

    this is proven by:

    "you can only use it one one of your cars" WTF????

    "IF you've not driven for a year it dissapears" WTF???

    "If you HAVE driven , but on someone elses policy , it still dissapears" WTF???

    "no sir our maximum is six years - I know you had eight when you came in but now you got 6" WTF???

    Currently my vauxhall corsa ( with full no claims ) is costing me 50% more to insure than my 280bhp imported sports car (on limited mileage policy)

    The rules are basicly all just made up marketing tools which never make any sense, so i dont think this ruling will affact things much!

  39. bob 46

    different approach

    It seems to me that there is a real market for personally assessed insurance these days. As an example, I remember a friend of mine trying to insure his motorbike a few years back. One of the questions was "is the bike kept in a garage?". Now, he used to wheel the bike into his kitchen in the evening, which he tried to explain to the nice lady on the phone. But as it wasn't a garage, it didn't count, and he didn't get the 15% discount applied when the "garage" box was ticked. Common sense would say that it is safer in his garage than it would've been in the garage, which was rather ramshackle and several hundred feet from the house, but the nice lady was having none of it.

    Insurance premiums are at ..well.. a premium. If a policy is likely to cost near £1000, why can't someone come round from the insurance company and assess the situation in person? Maybe go for a quick 5 min drive with the insuree? Look where its going to be stored, all that other gubbins. Then make a personal assessment. seems to me that way the statistics are moot, because it CAN be assessed individually

    1. Mad Mike
      Happy

      @Mark 63

      Certainly premiums are based around marketing to some extent as that's how they grow customers. However, the very limited difference between TPFT and comprehensive insurance actually has a very simple reason. The value of your car (which is the primary difference in the policies......repairing your car if your fault), is largely irrelevant in relation to risk and costs. Most of the insurance costs are not around the insured drivers car, but around the damage they do to others. So, the value of your car makes little difference, hence the limited difference in cost. This varies from insurance company to insurance company to some extent, but the principle remains.

      The protected no claims discount is actually a con really and has limited effect. Your base premium is based, amongst other things, on your claims and accident history. Even if your no claims remains the same (as you've protected it), your base premium will actually increase due to the accident anyway. So, if you retain your 50% no claims, but put the base premium up anyway, sort of evens itself out!!

  40. Stuart Ball

    Lies, More Lies & Statistics

    As I understand it Insurance uses a LOT of profiling data, and employs a huge degree of statistical maths to generate it's risk profiles.

    Those profiles happen to include one for gender, but they also include age, post code, whether you have on street parking and every other question you have to fill in when getting a quote.

    You are then given a risk profile which dictates your premium. If we are saying mathematical discriminiation is bad, unfair and there illegal, are we not undermining scientific principles?

    So Age risk profiling will be next to be outlawed, and everyones premiums will go up to match the current risk profile of a 17yr old "Boy Racer" as that is the safest financial risk the insurer can offset.

    Whilst you can generally manipulate statistics to show the view you want to present, a simple bar chart of value of payouts vs gender is simple, and effective.

    Either they do, or they don't present a bigger, or smaller, risk profile, and should be compensated, or not, accordingly.

  41. Anonymous Coward 99

    What sort of equality?

    I have no problem with equality of access as a principle, where the service delivered as a result is the same.

    But where risks are applied according to statistics, why not measure by equity of output?

  42. Graham Bartlett

    @mark 63

    No, they're being absolutely sensible on treating the two cars separately. Sure you could get your sports car up to some stupid speed - but the simple fact is that if you've gone to the trouble and expensive of getting yourself one of these cars, you're likely to treat it like it was made of porcelain. Maybe a footballer can afford to write off a Ferrari, but everyone else can't. Better tyres, suspension and general handling also mean that you're more likely to bottle it before the car loses its grip. And on a limiited-mileage policy you're probably only going to be driving it over the summer. Compare and contrast to the many, many people who become one with the scenery when tazzing their £500 fourth-hand Corsas, Peugeots and Fiestas round a slippery road in winter.

    As for how much no-claims you get, and whether you get it on both cars, that's a problem with picking the wrong insurance company. If you're treated like that, shame on them. If you're treated like that and you *still* buy insurance off them, shame on you.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    all is fair in love and war...

    You con go on about "in an ideal world", but the fact remains we are not in an Ideal world..

    In your driving lifetime, car insurance "should" cost you no more than the cost of insurance payouts in that time, plus a nominal administration charge also allowing for a little profit. but how do we work out the yearly premiums.

    The cost should be broken down to the lowest affecting factor possible. if that is due to hair colour, gender, religious beliefs or even the colour of your car then no matter how distasteful to some, it should be taken into account. you can argue that you didn't have a choice in the ordering or you chromosomes or other genetic traces, but that's not the point, you are what you are and if you are genetically more likely to have an accident then you should at least pay more in the early years of your insurance until your actual driving profile can be calculated, and if you over paid in the early years then an additional discount should be applied.

    I remember reading a few years back that the most common colour car involved in accidents was green. If this is indeed true then owners of green cars should have this taken into account. I have often wondered what the statistics were for those day-glow orange dyno-rod vans being involved in an accident. If its a significant lowering of rear end collisions then they should get a further discount on insurance premiums. Saying that, if it was significantly lower, we would have some dumb-ass road safety group place pressure on the government until all cars are painted day-glow orange!!!

    Sherlock, because he would be able to deduce a realistic insurance premium!

  44. croaker
    Unhappy

    Whodunit?

    Who was the knobhead that took the case to court in the first place? They need a jolly good pummelling

  45. Nick Gisburne

    Age equality next?

    Age discrimination is now illegal in this country too. Will this be next on the list of equalities to be factored into insurance? Will a newly-qualified 30-year-old be asked the pay the same as a newly-qualified 17-year-old? It may be that if age discrimination is also outlawed, the insurance companies would simply use the no-claims bonus to determine the premium.

  46. jabuzz

    Sex Descrimination Act 1975

    It has been illegal to discriminate on the grounds of gender in the UK for over thirty years now. Basically they have been getting away with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      they weren't getting away with it

      The insurance industry was granted an exemption.

  47. Graham Bartlett

    @Captain TickTock

    "All insurance is a bet between you and the insurer on the odds of something happening."

    Except in this case it really isn't. If you've rear-ended someone's Nissan Micra at low speeds, BFD - bit of bodyshop work, but no biggie, and most people can afford it. Hell, most people can probably afford a replacement Micra from savings. This is the kind of area where your household insurance lives, and yes, that's just a bet with no major consequences if you lose the bet. Fire and theft or comprehensive cover definitely falls into this category too.

    But suppose you've T-boned someone's Aston Martin, or a high-end Beemer or Jag? £80k upwards for a write-off there. And worst of all, suppose someone's been badly injured and will need 24-hour medical care for the rest of their life? How many millions to cover that? There is *NO* way you could ever pay up, so you go bankrupt and the person you ran into is left paying for *YOUR* mistake. That's why we require third-party insurance for all drivers.

    1. TomG
      Holmes

      Mr

      "All insurance is a bet between you and the insurer on the odds of something happening."

      No, insurance is not a bet. It is a sharing of risk among all participants in the pool with the insurance company collecting the premiums and paying the bills. For handling the paperwork, the insurance gets to charge a fee called profit.

  48. The Alpha Klutz
    Big Brother

    sounds good to me

    just because "average" men are reckless assholes, doesn't mean I should be forced to pay reckless asshole insurance premiums.

    How is it fair for people to make assumptions about the way I drive, without ever taking the trouble to actually watch me drive and see how I do it? Sounds like pre-crime to me. Of course, I must be guilty of being a bad driver; it's in my genetics. Maybe we should purge the faulty genes too?

    Ask yourself this: Would you be happy if you got a speeding ticket every time anyone of your gender broke the speed limit? Would you be happy if you were locked up, because someone else, whom you've never met, ran someone over? The only connection being that you and the actual perpetrator are the same age?

    How would you like it? Not very much I suspect. But don't worry, you'll get to find out for real. It's called Policing by Numbers, and it might be too late to save your sanity but it's not too late to save your soul. Let those who love statistics so much, see where it takes them.

  49. Bluenose
    Flame

    Having read the ruling

    It seems to me that the person who wrote the opinion on which the decision was based has not really done a good enough job. Basically they argue that the overriding consideration in this case is that gender should not be a discriminating factor since it is not something over which the individual has control. This of course is incorrect since the same court allows men and women to change sex purely on the basis of some cosemetic surgery.

    The bigger issue was the failure of the insurance companies and the EU to address the question of why gender should be carved out specifically in the case of insurance so that a specific gender can be discriminated against based on earlier judgements of the court relating to the fact that women and men should pay the same amount for a pension based on their salary and ignoring the fact that women live longer.

    It therefore seems to me that this decision was the one wanted by all the parties so that the insuranc companies could put up their charges. I must admit that I could probably have put a better defence in to this case then the people who represented the EU and the Belgiums (the case related to one referred to the ECJ by the Belgian courts).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      purely on a cosmetic basis?

      >the same court allows men and women to change sex purely on the basis of some cosemetic surgery.

      A lot of people think that gender reassignment is cosmetic, but it's actually based on psychological necessity; male and female brains are different, and bad things happen if they are in the wrong body.

      Gender reassignment is a long process (it's not just turning your bits inside out). I think it's par for the course to speak to several doctors and a psychiatrist or two to make sure it would be safe and sensible for you to proceed with it.

      Follow that with months of hormone treatment and you might be finally ready to get the surgery. Then you still need to take the hormones afterwards (until you die); get speech therapy, since men and women speak differently; and quite possibly get some kind of hair removal treatment (depending on how the hormones affect your hair growth).

  50. Jess--

    time for car insurance to go back to how it used to work

    and end the protected no-claims discount.

    if you are a new driver (with no history) you pay more for a few years until your no claims discount builds up.

    if you keep driving accident free than your insurance stays low, if you have an accident then your insurance goes back up in cost.

    while they are at they could make the no claims apply to the person rather than the individual policy (apparently I lose 8 years of not having an accident by having a second vehicle) insurance companies currently only allow you to use your no claims on one policy, if you have a second policy (for a different vehicle) you have to build up a second no-claims discount.

    in case anybody is wondering the last accident I was involved in was where a lady went through a set of traffic lights on red and tried parking in my passenger seat, her vehicle (rover 4xx) was totalled (engine through the bulkhead) my vehicle (vauxhall omega) needed a new door, wing, wheel and a new suspension arm, a lack of independant witnesses meant that the insurance companies decided it was knock for knock so of course my insurance costs jumped.

    3 years later I had a solicitors letter telling me that a Mr XXXXX was claiming that he had suffered whiplash type injuries as a result of the accident, I wrote a nice letter backsuggesting that they should persue Mr XXXXX for attempted fraud since the driver of the other vehicle was female and there were no passengers in either vehicle (oddly enough I never heard any more from them)

  51. DavCrav Silver badge

    Important point for everyone

    Anyone arguing about statistically men having more crashes than women, fewer crashes, whatever, and whether this should be a basis for discrimination, should read up on Simpson's paradox.

    Link for the lazy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox

    It essentially says that by dividing up groups in different ways the "worst" group can change. So all this debate needs to bear that in mind.

  52. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    The whole point of insurance is that everyone shares the risk so no one gets copped with a major problem. Ultimately if the argument for dividing the group up is taken to it's natural conclusion we all end up paying a premium which turns out to be the size of the bill we will run up, plus profit for the insurance company on top. So risk is not spread and the whole point of insurance is lost. Personal reductions for low claim I can understand, but that aside the rest of the argument for treating one group worse than another is on dodgy ground.

  54. Munkstar

    Get a bike

    This will really upset the 2 million driving around with no insurance.

  55. Nuke
    Flame

    Insurance is Nonsense

    Three examples of how illogical insurance comapies are :

    1) I used to commute to London by train every day. Saw an advert on the station for "Greatly reduced car insurance if you have a railway season ticket". I enquired, and was given a quote which was twice as much as the "ordinary" Insurance I was already paying. I told them to stuff it.

    2) I had a car (fairly powerful) insured (driver only) with maximum No Claims Bonus. I inherited a motor caravan (I know, I know). Asked about adding it to my insurance, thinking it would be little more than an admin charge - I couldn't drive both at once. But was told it would cost the same as if I were a brand new driver, zero NCB, added to my existing premium, a 300% increase in my premium. "That's the rules, sir". I told them to stuff it.

    3) I lived in Bristol when it was the "Joy ride capital of the UK". That year my renewal premium quote shot by up about 75%. "It's because of the car thefts in Bristol. sir". "But I only have 3rd party" I said. "Oh, er, er, it affects it anyway sir". I told them to stuff it.

    How does this even make business sense?

  56. Steen Hive
    WTF?

    Sod that

    To hell already with the age, gender, race or marital status of the driver. And to hell with insurance companies too. Insure the fucking vehicle itself or add it to fuel duty! 3rd party insurance is a legal requirement and as such should be available at cost to anyone who has demonstrated the skill to operate a motor vehicle, further it should be varied solely on the basis of distance driven. If you want additional insurance, knock yourself out with theft premiums based on location etc.

    Couple that with stronger sanctions that take bad drivers off the roads for longer and everyone will gain. Works a treat in Scandinavia. None of this "named driver" bollocks here either. Any licensed driver may drive my car with my permission.

  57. SleepyJohn
    Big Brother

    [SOLVED] - Let the people elect their government

    Surely the real issue here is not whether male drivers cost insurers more than female ones (statistics, anyone?), or whether insurers should treat everyone the same regardless of statistics, but rather whether unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats should be allowed to dictate the actions of a democratically elected government.

    Next time you see a Third World nation throw off the shackles of dictatorship, giving its people the power to elect those who make their laws, ponder on the fact that after eons of democracy the people of this First World nation have had that power taken away from them.

  58. Arclight
    Black Helicopters

    Ad

    If this means an end to those bloody annoying "Sheilas Wheels" adverts then I for one welcome our european overlords.

    Black helicopter because I can't afford to drive.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its a lot more complicated...

    What about other non-gender related risk factors? Should my medical insurance be more expensive because I'm a fat b*stard? Should smokers be allowed to pay lower life insurance because their life expectancy is lower?

    A friend has a glass eye (a chemistry experiment went wrong at school decades ago). She can't get affordable insurance that covers total loss of sight though in practise her risk is no different to the risk of me losing sight in both eyes. That sounds like disability discrimination.

    Keep going down this path and we end up with flat rate insurance, same for for everybody because actuarial risk factors are inherently directly or indirectly discriminatory. So some classes of insurance become unaffordable for all but the rich who don't really need insurance, they can shoulder the potential financial loss insurance protects against - so take them out of the equation and the overall cost to those who do need insurances gets still greater.

  60. Anteaus
    Holmes

    Fair's fair...

    I don't have any issue with women being given lower premiums, they are statistically safer drivers.

    The issue I do take is with women being given special rights as 'vulnerable individuals' to make accusations against men, especially where there is no valid evidence of any crime having occurred.

    Statisticians reckon that that between fifty and eighty percent of assault claims made by women are deliberately falsified. Therefore if the 'insurance logic' were to apply here, the reverse should apply, and alleged victims of male violence should be required to provide a higher, not lower, standard of proof than for other crimes.

    1. Vic

      Re: Fair's fair..

      > they are statistically safer drivers.

      No they aren't. They are a lower statistical risk to the insurance company.

      There are several explanations for that which have nothing to do with safer driving...

      Vic.

  61. cs94njw
    FAIL

    Are you guys nuts!?

    If I said, "All English people eat babies". I would be called racist (well, I'm English, but ...), and rightly so.

    But if, actually, all/most English people did eat babies - I'd be stating a fact.

    My wife is an underwriter. It is in the insurance companies interests to get these statistics nailed down perfectly. It is the fine balance of having a product that someone wants to buy, and the loss if someone claims on their insurance. They are interested in paying out less than they receive.

    Women, on average, have more accidents than men, but are of small value.

    Men, on average, have less accidents than women, but when they do - they're a biggie.

    I think they should take ethnicity into account - IF and ONLY IF it is statistically important. If Teletubbies aren't any worse/better drivers than Flumps, then there's no point deciding price based on that statistic. If they don't at the moment, perhaps there's a law against it or it's not statistically important.

    Do you think you should pay the same premium as a 17 year old? What? No? AGEIST!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @cs94njw

      Your own analogy: even if the majority of English people did eat babies you cannot accuse me of eating any without actual proof. Statistically male black youths commit more street robbery than any other ethnic group but only a fucking racist fucktard would equate that as all male black youths are muggers.

      Statistically most Americans are overweight but have you seen Paris Hilton? Not from the side you won't have.

      (you claim that the quantifier "all" is the same as "most" which is obviously fallacious)

      Regarding 17 year olds and premiums - the age is only of circumstantial relevance - what is important is the level of driving experience and the driving history. A new qualified 17 year old should be treated the same as a new qualified 40 year old, or a new qualified 80 year old - none of them have any prior experience and none have any past history on which to assess driving risk (good or bad). As soon as they start building a driving record you can make actual, rational, fair assertions about their risk - based on whether they have a tendency to crash into things and obey the RTA or not.

  62. TheBeardyMan
    Flame

    The elephant in the room...

    Anyone who condones discriminatory pricing of motor insurance is ignoring the elephant in the room: you can be prosecuted, get a criminal record, and possibly go to jail for not having it.

    Legalized discriminatory pricing of motor insurance.

    Criminalized driving without motor insurance.

    Choose one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @TheBeardyMan

      Your argument is bollocks. There is no either / or here.

      Insurance is mandatory for some very good reasons that have already been put forward in this thread - this is completely separate from whether insurance companies are allowed to act in a discriminatory manner.

      There is no reason why you can't easily have both - and if you had read / understood the article you will see that from 2013 we will be in that happy place where insurance will be non-discriminatory (on the basis of gender) and the fuckers who drive without insurance will still be fucking criminals.

      1. TheBeardyMan

        @Lee

        No argument from me against enforced non-discriminatory pricing being the right way to go.

        I'm implying that decriminalizing driving without motor insurance is the only non-misandrist alternative to enforced non-discriminatory pricing, and NOT that it's an alternative that should be seriously considered.

  63. Paul
    Boffin

    another way to discriminate on sex

    the insurance companies use a set of metrics to determine risk and therefore the price;it's not about age, sex, race or any other thing that might offend the PC brigade, just a way to put a driver into a pigeon-hole of likely risk categories.

    if they can't use the sex of the driver, they can use the first name instead; there's some overlap of men's and womens names, but it'd be a lot better than nothing.

    they could also ask for information about the hair-style and also use that. or shoe-style. it doesn't mean they have prejudice about, say, blondes, if they do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You misunderstand discrimination

      If you chose a different metric which still discriminates against a particular group that you have been preventing from discriminating against then unless you can show the metric is valid in itself and that any connection with a particular group in question is coincidental then you are still guilty of discrimination.

      As an example, say men do cause more higher cost crashes as has been argued here. If you use total cost of fault claims over the last 5 years as a metric for determining risk then although you are likely to end up targeting more men that women (and indeed men more than women) you would have a good case for being non gender discriminatory on the basis that (1) you are basing risk based on proven historical costs and (2) you are applying the cost metric equally to men and women who have had claims.

      Discrimination on names where most names are gender specific (or hair style fro the same reason) is clearly disguised gender discrimination. Insurance companies are not that stupid to try to get away with that, the public also won't let them and the courts can be bastards - especially the competition ones.

  64. Rogerborg

    Women shouldn't have to pay as much as men for insurance!

    Why, taken to an extreme, they might get it into their pretty little heads that they should *earn* as much as men.

  65. Dave 15

    Cameron continues to be a total waste of space

    This 'ruling' so clearly flies in the face of common sense that it is a joke. Cameron should have stood up and said 'No'. Of course he didn't, like all of our politicians (from whatever major party with the possible exception of ukip), he has both eyes firmly on what nice little job he will pick up when he moves onto the european gravy train.

    If gender makes no difference to how long a person lives or whether they contract illness or crash a car then I guess the next is to say whether you are blind, old, young, deaf, one armed, wombat or human equally makes no difference and in the interests of equality all should pay the same. I'm afraid the reality is different:

    Women tend (on average) to drive less miles, drive less in rush hour and are better organised so less often late - this means they generally have less car accidents.

    Men tend to be employed in stressful or dangerous jobs and die earlier (I suspect their wives often feed them big plates of egg and chips to ensure the process is even quicker :)

    As always our loud mouthed baseless and pathetic politicians fail dismally to protect tyhe uk or its people

  66. Dave 15

    no control over gender?

    "It seems to me that the person who wrote the opinion on which the decision was based has not really done a good enough job. Basically they argue that the overriding consideration in this case is that gender should not be a discriminating factor since it is not something over which the individual has control"

    I don't know of anyone who has control over their age, yet this is a discriminating factor.

    Few have real control over where we live - we need to be able to get to where we work, and I have no real control over where the person at the top of my particular tree has chosen to site the office, yet location is also a discriminating factor....

    As most have said, the ruling is barmy, and Cameron is lazy and stupid to let it through, we should just simply ignore it the way the other europeans ignore this pointless and obviously brain free court.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Dave15

    Not sure if trolling or really that stupid, but I'll bite:

    To take your points:

    "Women tend (on average) to drive less miles" - actually it is fewer miles - but that is easily sorted in a non-discriminatory manner - the insurance companies could start asking us how many miles we drive per year and then use that as a factor - like they already do. So gender discrimination fail by you.

    "drive less in rush hour" - only if they don't work - again the insurance companies could just ask what your employment status is and use that as a factor - like the already do - FAIL number 2

    "and are better organised" - citation needed. Otherwise this is just sexist bullshit as meaningless as stating women can't do science.

    "so less often late" - again, citation needed

    " this means they generally have less car accidents." - we have already accepted women have more car accidents (just with a lower cost) - so yet another fail. This also inherently fails your previous 2 sexist bollocks points

    "Men tend to be employed in stressful or dangerous jobs" - these pesky insurance companies should really start asking us what our occupation is you know.

    "and die earlier" - so? Unless men have a habit of dying at the wheel it is irrelevant - after 70 you need a medical check to retain your license regardless of gender

    "(I suspect their wives often feed them big plates of egg and chips to ensure the process is even quicker :)" - Ah yes, in your world where men work and women stay at home cooking big hearty breakfasts whilst fetching her man his slippers and doing his ironing before another jolly enlightening day of housework and baby raising.

  68. Mr Common Sense
    Mushroom

    I think people are missing the forest for the trees.

    There's no point arguing about women or mens driving habits when they'll pull another statistic out their ass to cover the next round of price increases.

    The whole issue of insurance needs to be looked at far more harshly considering the need for cars today.

    At the moment it's like a license to print money based on skewed statistics and pandering laws.

  69. Anteaus
    Black Helicopters

    Extortionate spares at root of sky-high premiums.

    Part of the problem with astronomic premiums is extortion in the vehicle spares trade. Insurance repairs are typically done by main dealers, and main dealers may charge anything up to 400% over the actual value of parts supplied to them by spares distributors. Which are themselves already many times the actual manufacturing cost of the part. Even a damaged plastic bumper may cost several hundred as a dealer-fitted replacement, whereas the part itself probably costs a few pounds to manufacture.

    Now, motor factors do have to account for holding large quantities of stock, some of which may never be sold, plus the warehousing space for this stock. But, the situation with dealers' spares prices has gotten totally out of hand.

    -Black helicopter, because with aviation spares it's even worse.

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