More equal than others?

The recent EU ruling concerning gender discrimination will mean that, from next year, insurance companies will no longer be able to differentiate between the premiums they charge on the basis of whether the policyholder is male or female. It remains to be seen how the industry responds to this but it is widely thought that the result will be higher premiums all round.

Of course it is important to remember that the reason why, for example, young lady drivers paid less than their male counterparts, is not because there was conscious discrimination applied but because actuarial statistics proved that the risk of an accident (and with it an expensive claim for the insurer to pay) was in fact less if the driver was female. Statistics also suggest differences in risk according to gender in a variety of other scenarios. Logic dictates that this would always be the case since men and women behave differently and their attitude to risk-taking, health and many other areas of activity will not be the same.

As such, it can be argued that the EU decision is flawed. It’s obviously right that the sexes should receive equality of treatment and, without getting into the thorny issues of whether women receive equal pay and opportunities, there is clearly an issue here. If women now have to pay the same as men but continue to represent a lower risk, does that not, in itself, create another basis of discrimination against them?

Some points for debate here – what’s your opinion?

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