Your Money: We'll all suffer for sexual equality

Jokes about women drivers usually backfire when motor insurance is mentioned. Although women on the road have probably been pilloried since the first female slipped behind a steering wheel, they usually get cheaper car cover than men because statistically they are safer drivers and have fewer accidents.

Jokes about women drivers usually backfire when motor insurance is mentioned. Although women on the road have probably been pilloried since the first female slipped behind a steering wheel, they usually get cheaper car cover than men because statistically they are safer drivers and have fewer accidents.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) tells us that men under the age of 30 make 10 per cent more claims on their car insurance than women of the same age. Women tend to make fewer, smaller claims.

But the European Commission's social affairs commissioner, Anna Diamantopoulou, is having none of it. She believes such a policy discriminates against men and needs changing.

As a result, women will face higher motor premiums: the ABI believes they could increase by as much as 10 to 20 per cent per annum.

But sorry, boys: if you're anticipating lower premiums as a result of the proposals, you'll be disappointed. There may be some small reduction, but it is far more likely that insurance companies will pocket the difference.

The Commission also has life cover in its sights. On average, women live three years longer than men, says the UK Government Actuary's Department, and if companies don't take account of this, premiums for term life insurance would rise for women by as much as 10 to 15 per cent. The ABI calculates this could cost women an extra £35 a year.

Annuity payouts are also affected by the proposals. Currently, women get lower payouts because statistically they live longer. But this is discrimination, according to the European Commission, and the only way round this is to offer the same annuity rates to men and women.

The result, according to independent financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown, is that women may see a 4 per cent gain in their annuity payouts while men are likely to suffer a 7 per cent reduction.

The proposals are being discussed by the EU commissioners at the moment. Let's hope they see the error of their ways before it is too late, because this would be a step backwards.

One of the best things about today's insurance industry is its increasing sophistication, with prices set according to risk. That's why smokers get better annuities than non-smokers because they are more likely to die earlier.

Treating everyone equally in insurance just doesn't work and won't result in fairer pricing. Instead, women and men will be penalised by the very rules that are supposed to be helping them. And where is the advantage in that?

m.bien@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

    Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

    £25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

    Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project