EU banning female-friendly insurance

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Thanks to First For Woman's long-standing ad campaigns, South Africans are well aware of the fact that women qualify for lower insurance premiums - but similar arrangements exist overseas too, although that's about to come to an end in Europe.

Despite this, Sheila's Wheels, the UK female-focused insurance firm, has lashed out at suggestions that new EU gender rules will consign it to the scrapheap.

Law firm Sackers angered the company by suggesting the European Union Gender Directive would lead to its ‘demise’.

The directive, which comes in to force on December 21 this year, bans insurers from charging men more than women for their car insurance, despite male drivers under the age of 22 being ten times more likely to have a serious crash than female motorists of the same age.

A spokesman for Sheila’s Wheels, which insures half a million drivers in the UK, said: ‘Talk of our demise is extremely foolish and we will be having serious words with Sackers.

‘We don’t fear the gender directive and are very capable of adapting. Sheila’s Wheels will be around for a long time.’

Separate reports from Labour and the Treasury have found that millions of women could end up paying an extra £362 (R4800) a year, or around £30 (R400) a month, with premiums increasing by almost a quarter on average.

Young men would see theirs fall on average by 9 percent. The flipside is men who buy a pensions annuity when they retire will receive a smaller income. Currently men receive more than women because they have a lower life expectancy.

But Sheila’s Wheels claimed that because 90 percent of its customers are women, the new gender rules will actually give it a competitive advantage.

Because women make fewer claims, it said it will only have to push up the premiums of its female clients slightly to help subsidise the claims made by male customers, who will pay less than they do now.

Other insurers with a higher proportion of male policy holders will have to push up premiums more for women.

The insurer said even if it started to attract the same proportion of male and female customers it would be five or six years before the ‘dominance of women was diluted’.

Sheila’s Wheels claimed that this would still not pose a problem as it would then change the way it prices policies.

This could include the introduction of telematics – technology installed in cars which monitors how safely a policy holder drives, regardless of their sex.

Sackers later retracted its comments and claimed they had been taken out of context. -Daily Mail



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