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Motor insurance gender divide under threat

Article by Simon Christopher
Posted: 25/2/2011 - Last updated: -
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Female drivers could pay higher prices for insurance if an expected European ruling bans price discrimination. But young men could be big winners.

The ruling, due on 1 March, will come from the European Court of Justice. It looks set to uphold a policy that insurers cannot discriminate on grounds of gender alone. That means that a man and woman who otherwise had identical risk factors would have to be offered the same price. If the rules are changed, its though insurers would have to comply within three years.

It will be up to each insurer to decide how to comply with this, but the chances are that where there are existing gaps between male and female pricing, companies would effectively split the difference. That would mean hikes for females and cuts for male, with the most profound effect being among young drivers where men have traditionally been charged extremely high rates.

Not all firms are worried, though. Sheila's Wheels -- which accepts applications from both men and women, but intentionally markets towards women -- says it's unlikely to see much difference. That's because the success of its advertising means the vast majority of its customers are female. As that lowers the number and value of claims, it will still be able to keep prices comparatively low. Of course, that could mean the company suddenly becomes very attractive to male drivers!

PLEASE NOTE: News items are intended for information only and should not be relied upon when making insurance decisions. Due to their nature, some of the information in news stories including any references to taxation, legislation, regulation, or other issues may no longer be current.

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