Car insurance changes blasted

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INSURERS have reacted with bemusement to the European Court Of Justice’s ruling that charging different amounts for men and women is gender discrimination and therefore illegal.

From December 21 2012, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to take someone’s gender into account when calculating any inception or renewal premium – even though it is a statistical fact that young men crash far more often than young women.

Curtis Dowman of St Annes-based broker Guy Penn and Co, said that the move means premiums for women could rise by 20 per cent, and fall by 10 per cent for men as insurers try and equalise ratings.

He added: “When it’s a new driver and there’s no claims history, you can only look at the statistics and young male drivers are seven times more likely to crash.

“Where does it stop? Is a new driver at 21 the same as a new driver at 29? You could go on and on.”

The change was immediately condemned as “utter madness” and a “setback for common sense” by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which has spent the past decade fighting the move.

ABI acting director-general, Maggie Craig said: “The judgment ignores the fact that taking a person’s gender into account, where relevant to the risk, enables men and women alike to get a more accurate price for their insurance.”

Mr Dowman added: “On discussing this with mainstream insurers, it would be expected that this would affect drivers under the age of 30. As for the older motorists, we find that premiums are very similar between male and female.

“This will be a new chapter for motor insurance where we will see increased premiums. Through our company, it will be down to us to get the most competitive premium for our clients.”