Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big Leap to Insurance Equality

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Big Leap to Insurance Equality

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

THERE'S good news and bad stemming from the fact that, from December 21, insurers and other financial services providers will be banned from using a client's sex to determine the price of policies. The good? The chances of your eyes and ears being assailed by a drippingly pink car insurance advert with an irritating "we love women" slogan is now much lower and, if you're a man, your insurance premiums may cost less. The bad news, is that for women, the cost of a range of cover is likely to get much higher -- and men will have to shell out more for retirement products.

Women currently pay less for car insurance because statistically they are less likely to have a crash, and face lower rates for life cover because they have on average longer lives, which means paying more premiums over the course of the policy.

For motor cover, men aged from 17 to 20 currently pay almost double the premium of women the same age -- because the data show they are more likely to crash. But the new EU legislation forces firms to ignore the numbers.

So if you're female, and particularly if you're under 30, it could be worth buying insurance policies before the laws come in -- even if yours doesn't run out until just after December.

The Association of British Insurers predicts women drivers under 25 will see premiums rise by as much as 25%. Men of a similar age, meanwhile, are expected to see premiums fall by only 10%. Yet three quarters of female drivers say they either haven't heard of or don't understand the implications of the EU legislation.

"Anyone renewing in December should do so immediately at the start of the month," advises Peter Harrison, insurance expert at Moneysupermarket.

So far, none of the big insurers has gone public on how they will change their pricing -- whether their rates will drastically change on the morning of December 21, or if gender is gradually starting to affect prices. …

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