European Judges rewrote the rule book for insurance companies yesterday by banning risk assessment based on gender.

Using differences between men and women as a risk factor in setting premiums for car and medical insurance and pension schemes breaches EU equality rules, declared the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Insurance companies can continue to discriminate until December 2012 when rules will be reviewed.

The Association of British Insurers says women under 26 face a 25 per cent rise in car insurance. Men face a 10 per cent cut.

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