Insurance gender bias stays

22 September 2004
A Lords committee has backed a proposal not to ban gender bias from the calculation of insurance premiums, as it would increase the costs for consumers.

An EU Commission proposal had suggested banning the use of gender to decide insurance charges, but evidence shows the cost of insurance for consumers would rise, in particular for women.

Additionally, the ban would prevent companies from pricing risk effectively.

The ABI (Association of British Insurers) has welcomed the Committee's view that the European Commission should carry out a thorough impact analysis of its proposals before proceeding any further.

The deputy director general of the ABI, Stephen Sklaroff, described the UK's existing insurance system as "reliable and objective".

He added: "The Commission's proposals as currently drafted would have the perverse effect of forcing women to pay more for their motor and life insurance.

"We endorse the Committee's view that other initiatives are needed to close what we have called the 'gender pensions gap'. We have recently proposed a package of measures to help achieve this."

The next EU ministerial meeting will be held on October 4th, where there should be strong opposition among the member states to the Commission's current position.
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