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Unjustified Car Insurance Rises for Women in Dec

(46 Posts)
Crappers Sun 18-Nov-12 10:08:01

Hi all

Car insurance for women will be increased on the 21st December. This is driven by the EU ruling to bring women car insurance in line with men in the UK. The average price increase is between 14% to 4%.

Out of desperation/exasperation, I have wrote to the Financial Ombudsman Authority requesting that they have a look into this.

I feel that this is grossly unfair for a number of reasons. Firstly, car insurance like all insurances is costed based on statistics, probability of riskiness of an individual, taking into account personal circumstances, age, area, type of car driven etc etc. Statistics have demonstrated that women is generally a safer car driver hence the our insurance is priced in reflection of our perceived lower risk.

By bringing the pricing for women in line with men, the EU ruling is distorting the fundamental way in which the car insurance market operates. This is almost akin to putting an artificial price floor for women.

I am surprised that the government haven't step in to do something about this.... It feel women has been dealt with yet another blow on top of the austerity measures. This will drag women into a further financial hardships and I hope something can be done about this before women gets dragged back into the darkness of the Victorian times.

I hope Mumsnet can lend some support/voice to this given that women particularly mums will feel an ever tightening squeeze on their household budgets.

Thank you

Crappers Tue 20-Nov-12 13:49:07

I thought age is one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act. Therefore for the purpose of some insurance, some protected characteristics are included whereas others deemed acceptable to be excluded? I am not sure if I agree with this.... I feel it just complicates the already complex market and include an element of subjectivity. Who is to say which protected characteristics should be included and some excluded for the various types of insurances? Some dude sitting in their posh offices in Brussels perhaps?

Doctrine snatcy : thank you for the posts. I really enjoyed the debate and have learnt something new! ;)

msrisotto Tue 20-Nov-12 13:51:22

God i'm dreading this. Fantastic timing too just before Christmas.

DilysPrice Tue 20-Nov-12 14:39:33

If you restricted the ability to price on age then the entire life insurance market would collapse overnight - without a hint of exaggeration. You could, and maybe will keep the exemption for life/health, whilst removing it for motor (perhaps allowing insurers to use number of years licensed as a proxy) but it hasn't been done yet.

Essentially when the various discrimination laws were brought in, certain exemptions were made in the legislation - Bravissimo is allowed to hire all female bra fitters, non-profit Catholic schools are allowed to select Catholic pupils, and insurers were allowed to discriminate by age and sex. It's really quite straightforward. But like all UK laws they're open to challenge in the European courts, taking into account the practicalities of the changes versus general principles of equality.

In this case "I want to pay less because I have a vagina and statistically that's associated with less risky behaviour (though I personally may be Amy Winehouse)" is not a great argument.

msrisotto Tue 20-Nov-12 16:17:41

So statistical fact is unimportant? Really?

DilysPrice Tue 20-Nov-12 16:25:07

Who said it was unimportant?

msrisotto Tue 20-Nov-12 20:20:26

To the insurance companies, statistically being less risky is a big deal.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 20-Nov-12 21:41:37

To an employer, statistically being more likely to take maternity leave is a big deal.

DilysPrice Tue 20-Nov-12 21:57:56

Not to mention the fact that women as a class take significantly more sick leave in general. But that says nothing about me as an individual, I scarcely take any, and I'd be livid if I got marked down at interview for being a higher sick leave risk - even if that would be the best strategy for employers.

msrisotto Wed 21-Nov-12 08:12:22

I'm not sure you can compare employment rights with insurance.

HotheadPaisan Wed 21-Nov-12 08:21:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlyOverTheMistletoe Wed 21-Nov-12 08:23:32

I can assure you all the insurance companies are using this as a way to make more money. No one's insurance will be coming down - which it would if this was not just a cynical ploy to make more money. angry

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 21-Nov-12 08:28:55

Msrisotto, why not?

msrisotto Wed 21-Nov-12 08:57:45

As Hothead said, the fact that women have babies is a biological fact and necessary for the survival of the human race. It isn't really a choice to have children, otherwise we'd die out. It isn't fair to discriminate against women for doing what they have to do.

The fact that women drivers cost insurance companies less money and are less of a risk is nothing to do with biological imperative and it seems inherently unfair to effectively punish women for their good behaviour.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 21-Nov-12 09:31:08

Ok, what if the employment decision is to pay a white person less than an Asian person, because on a statistical basis, Asian people outperform white people on a set of aptitude tests? That would be discrimination.

If said employer got the individuals to sit aptitude tests and paid on the basis of individual outcome, that would not be discrimination.

Young women (and young men) are at liberty to take on a black box policy which will give them individualised pricing based on their actual driving. On this basis, it may well be that more young women than young men get cheaper policies, it might be that more Jewish people than Buddhists get cheaper policies, but that will be determined on a case by case basis.

msrisotto Wed 21-Nov-12 17:59:32

I don't mean to be snippy but I don't like dealing with 'what ifs' and I already said I don't think you can compare this to employment law.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 21-Nov-12 18:08:24

Fine, up to you. My second example was to move away from your mention of biological imperative re childbearing.

DilysPrice Wed 21-Nov-12 18:10:24

Why can't we compare this to employment law? Is it because equality is less important for supply of services than for employment? I agree that it's not as important but I do still think that equality laws should apply to supply of services - do you think that those particular laws should be dismantled mrsr?

The basic principle is that some people drive like twats. Some of the twats are women - rather more of them are men. From an insurer's point of view it makes sense to assume that every man is more twattish than every woman, but to my mind that's in fundamental conflict with my feminist principles, and I'm happy to see that assumption outlawed. I do not want to be getting a discount simply because I'm a lovely safe woman (even if I'm Amy Winehouse) and my DH is a nasty rough man.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 21-Nov-12 18:14:15

.,. I find what ifs helpful because sometimes I'm more aware of some forms of discrimination than others so either reversing the genders or substitutiing black & white or gay & straight for female & male can help me see it.

Off to the pub now, hooray!

msrisotto Wed 21-Nov-12 18:19:51

Taking that to its logical conclusion leads to radically reforming the way insurance companies calculate risk. It still wouldn't be fair to discriminate based on age even though we will all go through at least some age bands because that is still a sweeping judgement based on fact but a generalisation nonetheless. I as an individual was a careful driver at 17, could be more reckless now I'm older and arrogant wiser etc. also, it would be unfair to judge risk based on job because who is to say that doctors as a profession are less or more safe than teachers etc ad infinitum. And if I was a doctor, it doesn't mean that I conform to that stereotype or statistical calculation based on that group.

Am I making sense? I'm not trying to be anti equality because this one is going against women here, it just doesn't make sense to me to single this one thing out but not the other variables.

msrisotto Wed 21-Nov-12 18:20:36

My last post was in response to Dilly btw.

DilysPrice Wed 21-Nov-12 18:32:41

It's singled out because it's a protected characteristic, like race, religion and disability. Age is also (now) a protected characteristic but insurers are still exempt.

Profession, postcode and car choice are not something we as a society wish to protect - although if firms are blatantly using them as proxies for indirect illegal discrimination (eg "redlining") then they might be in trouble. If someone assumes that all solicitors are more cautious drivers than all actors then that's harsh on the really conscientious actors, but doesn't reflect widespread discrimination within society, so the law doesn't feel the need to intervene.

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