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European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice this morning (1/3/2012) ruled that insurers will no longer be able to charge different premiums to men and women because of their gender.

“In the insurance services sector, the derogation from the general rule of unisex premiums and benefits is invalid with effect from 21 December 2012,” the Court announced this morning.

“Taking the gender of the insured individual into account as a risk factor constitutes discrimination.”

The ruling, in the Test Achats case, removes the industry’s exemption from the 2004 Gender Directive.

The industry will have almost two years to adapt to the changes, with unisex premiums taking effect from 21 December 2012.

The recent European Court of Justice ruling on sex discrimination has been described as "effectively a gender tax on women".

It seems extremely unfair that women will be penalised for the fact they cause less serious accidents and make less expensive claims than their male counterparts.

It is a fact that motor insurance claims made by young male drivers cost more as they are more likely to be involved in serious accidents causing death and bodily injury. Historically men have paid higher premiums to reflect this, but from 21 December 2012 this won't be the case. Gender is an important factor in determining the risk of a driver making a claim and by not taking it into account women are being unjustly penalised.

It is now more important than ever that women do everything they can to get the lowest possible car insurance premium.  Discussing your circumstances with your Broker is essential. Women who only use their cars socially should only pay for social insurance, not social and commuting.

If they only drive 8,000 miles a year they should insure their vehicles for this, not 10,000 miles. Paying a premium annually rather than monthly is also cheaper, even if customers need to consider using a low rate credit card to help spread the cost.

Women will have to do everything they can to save money as their premiums are likely to rise to the level of men's. It is unlikely men's premiums will see a significant be reduction.


Richard Anthony Oakes, Sharon Linda Oakes Timothy James Eyre & Sean Ian Kinsella trading as Oakes Insurance Consultants are
authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Number 307170

Registered office: Oakes House, Derby Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 1PD