Court Ruling On Women Drivers “Utterly Ludicrous”

PUBLISHED: 11:02 15 March 2011 | UPDATED: 11:12 15 March 2011

woman driver

woman driver

Archant

“Which in simple terms is bizarre, because on average, women, especially in the younger age groups, claim less on their car insurance than men, while annuity income for males is on average higher because men typically have fewer years in retirement due to lower life expectancy.”

SOME people were relatively cautious in their reaction to a European Court of Justice ruling last week which drove a coach and horses through the insurance industry.

Where some commentators have used words like ‘disappointed’ and ‘unfortunate’, the truth is that the court has made an utterly ludicrous and indefensible decision.

Solving an issue of gender discrimination by creating a slightly different issue of gender discrimination, while making the ordinary man in the street confused in the process, was a pretty poor day’s work for the court.

In short, and it has been widely reported, the court decided that insurers can no longer take gender into account when setting premiums.

Which in simple terms is bizarre, because on average, women, especially in the younger age groups, claim less on their car insurance than men, while annuity income for males is on average higher because men typically have fewer years in retirement due to lower life expectancy.

These are historic and provable facts - and insurers, love them or loathe them, have reflected these true facts by setting premiums accordingly once they have the relevant key risk information, of which gender is but one factor.

But no longer, the court says.

Look at the directive involved (2004/113/EC1 if you’re interested) and it says this:

The directive prohibits all discrimination based on sex in the access to and supply of goods and services.

Well I would argue that the ruling has clearly gone against the terms of the directive which it sought to meet.

Young female drivers and men of pensionable age are now discriminated against based on their gender, thanks to the court.

Whether that argument would ever stack up I have no idea, but people paid far more money than I am must surely be considering it as a counter argument.

It seems that the marketing director of Confused.com, Mike Hoban, agrees.

“The outcome of the court ruling is effectively a gender tax on women,” said Mr Hoban.

“It is extremely unfair and illiberal that women will be penalised for the fact they cause less serious accidents and make less expensive claims than their male counterparts.”

Now that’s a better word - illiberal - and one which goes some way to summing up this ridiculous situation.

I also like the headline reaction from NFU Mutual, which reads: “Equality, what equality?”

And although it’s a hard one to prove, it is also possible that the disincentive to poor driving which very high premiums creates for young male drivers may reduce in effect as an end result of all of this.

Amidst this clearly ludicrous court decision, is it possible that an unintended consequence will be standards among young male drivers falling further?

This court of justice has made an unjust decision and it’s hard to find anyone who agrees with their ruling.

For more personal-finance news and views, visit www.mymoney24.co.uk.


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