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Should Insurance Be Sexless - Martin's Blog & Site Vote

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Poll started 28 Feb 2011:

This discussion is for

Martin's Should insurance be sexless? blog

Is insurance gender descrimination fair? vote


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  • kaz0705kaz0705 Forumite
    240 posts
    I worked for a car insurance company at uni and I was under the impression that it was the 'risk' aspect that was the problem rather than the gender.

    So, for instance (using made up stats!):

    Postcode A - 60% car claims are theft
    Postcode B- 30% car claims are theft

    The insurance premium would consider postcode A as higher risk. Now, I'm entirely for equal rights- it's a key issue for my life but as far as I was aware the premium weren't based on discrimination but on evidence:

    Gender A/ under 25= 80% of claims for crashes (at fault)
    Gender B/ under 25 = 65% of claims for crashes (at fault)

    So, whilst I can understand, theoretically, why it's bad to place a higher premium based on gender, I don't get why it's not based on *risk* factors, as all insurance should be?

    Surely car insurance is based on: Type of car + postcode + age + previous claims + gender + and so on?

    In which case, why isn't age being defined as discriminatory? Why is it ok to say that under 25s have more crashes than over 25s but it's not ok to say men have more crashes with women?

    I am genuinely confused by this!
    LBM: January 2010
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  • I currently work for a UK insurer and quite simply if this becomes law all insurers will increase rates to the higher risk levels. However, going forward occupation will have a bigger impact on rating information - eg majority of primary school teachers are female and this means statistically they will be better drivers. Sorry guys women are safer drivers on the whole. Whilst this means increased premiums the insurance industry doesn't really want it as the admin is a huge headache and cost.
  • edited 28 February 2011 at 4:46PM
    keet83keet83 Forumite
    226 posts
    edited 28 February 2011 at 4:46PM
    Even if the young male driver after 3 years of claims has had no claims, no accidents etc, he may get a reduction however it would still be higher than a young female drivers insurance.

    Now is that fair? Are they taking into account his sex rather than his safe driving?

    I do agree with the age issue too, however they cannot tell how 'safe' the driver with 3 years experience compared to 20 years experience, therefore it is not age but experience that is being judged.

    type of car is due to how expensive the car is which explains itself

    Previous claims are from how likely they are to claim again.

    Where you live is if your car is more likely to be vandalized or stolen.
    [STRIKE]Beggars cant be choosers, but savers can![/STRIKE]
    That used to be the case :mad:
  • edited 28 February 2011 at 5:05PM
    SnowManSnowMan Forumite
    3.3K posts
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    edited 28 February 2011 at 5:05PM
    It is a complete nonsense to use unisex rates. The comments above about using profession illustrate that with general insurance. The same nonsense occurs with unisex annuity rates.

    The nonsense of it all is seen if you think of a male and a female who have both saved a retirement pot of say 50K in an ISA, and then consider a male and a female who have both saved 50K in a pension pot and decide to buy an annuity.

    Under the current position all can expect to get about 50K in value out of their pots of money (of course what they will get will depend on how long they live, but they can EXPECT to get benefits to the value of 50K when they retire).

    Under the unisex annuity rules the male and female who save via the ISA will still get 50K in value. However the male buying an annuity can expect to get benefits worth less than 50K and the female benefits worth more than 50K.

    So the proposed unisex annuity rates seem to me to create discrimination not eliminate it.

    By pretending that male and female life expectancy is the same, you create a framework for nonsense. It is like keeping the current arithmetic system but suddenly decreeing that from now on 2 + 2 = 3. You are then left with the question what is 2 + 1? Well it must both be 3 and one less than 2 + 2 so it will equal both 3 and 2 at the same time.

    When pricing policies perhaps insurers will insure according to risk and rating factors that are more prevalent in males or females. For example they could look to identify professions where predominently males work and then offer better annuity rates (e.g. to ex miners).

    When offering impaired annuity rates insurers will offer enhanced annuity rates to those who have suffered a heart attack not just because a heart attack reduces their life expectancy but because a heart attack itself indicates that they are likely to be male. How on earth do you decide which bit you strip out and can allow for without discriminating, heart attacks are one of the reasons that males live less long than females after all, but then if you don’t allow for it how do you offer the male who has had a heart attack a better rate than the male who hasn’t? It is analogous to deciding what 2 + 1 is in the above arithmetic system.

    Annuity companies will also target advertising at males as they make more profit from males than females purchasing annuities so we can expect to see some interesting advertisements, and some interesting company names e.g. Sexist Sid Annuity Company
    I came, I saw, I melted
  • I haven't researched this fully and realise my following comments may be voided by a lack of understanding, but here goes...

    If gender a is statistically higher risk that gender b, then I think that is more than reasonable to quote a higher price for the higher risk group. Same applies for age. As another user has commented though, if someone who falls into a high risk group has proven they are a safe driver by having had no claims for, say, 3 years, then it's reasonable to expect their premium to drop accordingly. If it's based on a statistical risk factor (as are postcode area's known for high theft or vandalism rates) then this isn't what I would call discrimination.

    IF they do decide to increase premiums for female drivers, then it strikes me that it would be only fair to meet in the middle (i.e. raise premiums for women drivers by 50% of the difference and drop premiums for male drivers by 50% of the difference). If they are only planning to raise the premium for women and leave them the same for men, then surely all this is going to result in is more money to further line the pockets of insurance companies?
    £12k in 2019 #084 £3000/£3000
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  • tbournertbourner Forumite
    1.4K posts
    I think everyone should be equal until they prove they're safe or not. Maybe affix a risk based on driving test results and put more emphasis on pass-plus etc. would be a good idea. Then after a few years you change it to be based on history.

    I was 17 when I passed my test, went very quickly from a 1.3 Metro to a 1.4, then a 1.8VVC hot hatch - I was charged extortionate insurance premiums yet I never crashed or claimed once!! Surely once I hit 20 and had 3 year NCB my insurance should be allowed to plummet as I'm obviously a low risk - so why did I still have to pay twice what a 17 year old girl paid - they have NO idea how careful she is. We're all different and should be judged as such not based on the average over the entire country, otherwise those above average get raped and those below average get rewarded.
    Trev. Having an out-of-money experience!
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  • tbourner wrote: »
    Maybe affix a risk based on driving test results and put more emphasis on pass-plus etc. would be a good idea. Then after a few years you change it to be based on history.

    Interesting angle, I like it. (But then I passed my test with only one minor so maybe I'm a bit biased, but I do think it's an interesting suggestion nonetheless) :rotfl:
    £12k in 2019 #084 £3000/£3000
    £2 Savers Club 2019 #18 TOTAL:£394 (2013-2018 = £1542)
  • There is a guy on the facebook forum ranting and raving about why it ISN'T fair that women drivers get lower rates - I'm mentioning him as the argument for why they should.

    Martin says in his blog that maybe certain differences are ok because they are based in biology (women living longer) but others not. My argument is that it is based in biology just the same - testosterone is part of biology and it could be argued that the testosterone is to blame for the higher rate of accidents and greater damage caused when the accidents happen.

    The guy on face book is arguing that if he crashes his car whilst overtaking it is the other person's fault for going too slow!!

    Maybe a fairer way would be to base premiums on personality and anger management profiles - except I'm sure that would be open to abuse whilst ever the test were down to self reporting even if done via questionnaire.
  • The sex of the driver is a very important factor in determining the risks. If you need any proof look at road death stats. (We all know Insurance companies live on Stats).
    However Perhaps the insurance companies need to have a Now claims policy that balance's this faster and a Clean licence discount. This could conceivably bring male premiumens in line with female drivers after the driver has a few years experience.
    With current Tech dashboard cameras are coming soon as are young drivers curfews and passenger limits

    Maybe to qualify for discounts drives should log hours behind the wheel.



    I can't help but think that by the time someone has full NCB and has driven almost every day in the last 16 1/2 years it should of balanced out.
  • hecateh wrote: »
    There is a guy on the facebook forum ranting and raving about why it ISN'T fair that women drivers get lower rates - I'm mentioning him as the argument for why they should.

    Martin says in his blog that maybe certain differences are ok because they are based in biology (women living longer) but others not. My argument is that it is based in biology just the same - testosterone is part of biology and it could be argued that the testosterone is to blame for the higher rate of accidents and greater damage caused when the accidents happen.

    The guy on face book is arguing that if he crashes his car whilst overtaking it is the other person's fault for going too slow!!

    Maybe a fairer way would be to base premiums on personality and anger management profiles - except I'm sure that would be open to abuse whilst ever the test were down to self reporting even if done via questionnaire.

    He is a MORON

    That sort of behavior is the reason why men like me have to pay higher premiums.

    Its Young idiots driving around far too fast that cause crashes.
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