Malcolm Flynn | Dec 27, 2012

New European Union (EU) laws banning gender-based variation in insurance pricing have been met with controversy this week.

Reports out of Europe suggest the laws - which came into effect for EU residents on December 21 - are irrelevant to the wider gender equality cause, and mainly benefit insurers.

London MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Marina Yannakoudakis labelled the laws as "gender equality for gender equality's sake".

The new laws are based on a March 2011 ruling, where the EU Court of Justice decreed that "differences in insurance pricing based purely on a person's sex are discriminatory", despite data historically highlighting areas where risk varies according to gender.

For example, male drivers generally carry higher car insurance premiums due to their typically greater likelihood of being involved in vehicle collisions. Similarly, life insurance policies also vary, with males disadvantaged because of a lower life expectancy.

According to British insurance provider AA, young male drivers are twice as costly to insure as young female drives on average.

The Association of British Insurers estimates that the new laws will see female UK drivers under 26 face at least a 26 percent rise in car insurance rates, matched to a 10 percent drop in rates for men - representing a potential net gain for insurers.

"It flies in the face both of common sense and the overwhelming evidence that women drivers represent a lower risk to insurers,” Ms Yannakoudakis said.

 

Australia

These laws do not apply in Australia, though male drivers here are also typically considered a higher risk than females - a statistic factored into most insurance policies.

However, AAMI’s latest Young Drivers Index suggests the opposite is now the case, highlighting young females as more prone to distraction and collisions than any other demographic.

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