New Insurance Equality Legislation from Europe: Is it fair?

While the insurance industry gears up to implement changes due to a European ruling against assessing risk based on gender, women are starting to despair because insurance premiums have already risen by around 30% this year and now they are facing further rises as a result of the legislation.

Some Background.

With regard to car insurance, women have always enjoyed lower premiums on like for like insurance car insurance because they are statistically less likely to have an accident. This means that for the insurance company, the risk of financial outlay is less and therefore they have charged lower premiums. The new ruling in the European Court comes into effect on the 21st December 2012 and basically means that in the interests of fairness and equality, women can no longer be risk assessed based on gender and therefore cheaper insurance for women will disappear.

The Implications

The implication of the ruling is that insurance companies are required to introduce pricing that is not based on gender. This means that current insurance premium prices must move by about 35% to achieve equality between men and women. Possibly the fairest way of doing this would be to bring male prices down by 17.5%, and put prices up by the same amount for women. Of course, insurance companies are not known for being fair and analysts predict that prices for men will come down by 10% and go up for women by 25%.

Is it Fair?

Women are in a very difficult position on this one because the ruling in the European Court in some ways furthers their cause. However, when applied to insurance, it basically means that women lose the cheaper car insurance they have earned by being safer drivers and having fewer accidents. In this way they are being penalised unfairly. In a recent survey on the issue, only 22% of women thought this was fair but by the same token, 74% of men who thought that it is fair.

The question that many women are asking is why they should be paying for the irresponsible and more dangerous driving of males with an increase in premiums while these men pay less. In some ways, the majority of men, who drive safely and rarely make a claim could say that they have been unfairly paying for the actions of the irresponsible minority for years


The Court ruling that risk assessment based on gender is discrimination is a fair ruling that is in the interests of women. What is not fair is the way that it has been applied by the insurance companies who in actual fact, stand to benefit considerably as a result. The idea that women can get cheaper insurance premiums than men will now be a thing of the past.

The only thing that women can do if they feel that they have been unfairly penalised financially by their insurance company, is to vote with their feet and try to find the same level of insurance offered by another company at a better rate.

car insurance advice

Tanya Robbins, the author of this article, is alarmed by the fact that cheap car insurance for women will disappear overnight on the 21st December 2012, but encouraged by the sentiment of the legislation that has brought this about.

Leave a Reply