‘Charging women less is right’

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
March 03, 2011, 1:55 AM GMT+0

The majority of the British public believes that it is fair for insurance companies to charge women less for car insurance, in contrast to yesterday’s ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that insurers can no longer charge different premiums based on gender, our poll has found. Conversely, the public does agree with the ECJ that charging women more for pension annuities because they are more likely to live longer is unfair.

  • 53% think it is right for companies to charge young women less than young men for car insurance based on the principle that women are less likely to be involved in expensive accidents
  • 32% agree with the ECJ ruling, however, saying that charging different premiums ‘amounts to sexual discrimination’
  • 46% feel that it is wrong to charge women more than men for pension annuities
  • While 35% feel that charging women more is right

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to car insurance, the results are strongly reflected along gender lines: women (66%) are much more likely than men (40%) to feel that lower insurance premiums are acceptable, with many more men actively claiming that cheaper prices for women is wrong (47% compared to 18%). However, with regards to pension annuities, men and women are more closely in agreement that charging women more is wrong (45% compared to 47% respectively).

Discrimination ruling

The ECJ ruling comes into force in December 2012, and states that insurance companies cannot base insurance premiums on the statistical likelihood of a driver having an accident solely because of their gender, as, the ECJ states, this ‘amounts to discrimination’.

AA Insurance told the BBC that the ruling could add as much as £400 to the yearly cost of car insurance for a young woman. ‘We could see their prices go up 25-30% and men's premiums could fall by about 10%’, continued the AA representative, Simon Douglas.

Similarly, the pensions industry has responded with disappointment to the ruling, saying that men will now receive smaller pensions than currently as rates begin to equalise.

See the survey details and full results here