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Anorak | New Motor Insurance Policies Place Equality Over Fairness

New Motor Insurance Policies Place Equality Over Fairness

by | 3rd, March 2011

MOTOR insurance policies are not longer about fairness, writes Cramer .

THE latest diktat from the EU is that insurance companies may no longer offer cheaper car insurance to women. It is estimated that their premiums will rise by about 25 per cent, to be equalised with the charges incurred by men. At least, that’s the headline grabber. The impact of this ruling on pensions and annuities will be far greater for men (a reduction of around 10 per cent per annum). But the media are only concerned with the problems of the day and with propagating the most alarmist headline: annuities are future things, and consideration of them is ever so slightly soporific.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that unequal insurance premiums amount to sex discrimination. It is, of course, an inviolable human right, according to the European Convention, not to be discriminated against because of one’s gender. Ergo, women drivers may not be shown favour or granted benefit because they happen, on average, to be more careful behind the wheel.

His Grace is genuinely puzzled as to why higher insurance premiums for the elderly and disabled do not amount to ageism or disability discrimination. Why should 17-year-old Kevin, with his GTi modified spoiler, ripping exhaust and interior neon lights, not enjoy the same rate as 50-year-old George, in his accident-free, unmodified and utterly sober Honda Civic Hatchback? Why does life insurance for a gay man with HIV cost more than the straight man? Does that not amount to discrimination on the grounds of sexuality? If health insurance companies take into account pre-existing conditions (as they do), is that not  de facto discrimination against someone on the basis of their disability? And are not health insurance premiums generally more expensive for women than men owing to the increased risks their gender suffers because of child-bearing? Will men now be forced to pay an increased premium to cover pregnancy risks?

This ECJ ruling is interesting on a number of levels, not least of which the sheer irrationality and injustice of the judgment. For centuries, insurance companies have based premiums upon risk assessment. They are not concerned with randomly-applied prejudice or unreasoned discrimination: it is assessment based on rigorous evidence, concerned with mathematics, statistics, logic, sound economics, the application of reason and scientific measurement everything, in fact, that the European Union professes to be founded upon: it is the apotheosis of Enlightenment morality, governance and jurisprudence.

And the EU is fundamentally  secular . Secularism purports to be above all superstition and neutral on matter of belief; it asserts that political decisions should be quite independent of

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Posted: 3rd, March 2011 | In: Money Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink