New legislation may prevent insurance companies from using gender-based evidence to price premiums.
Currently in the UK, insurance companies can legally practice gender-based premium discrimination based on relevant statistics. However, if the case presented by the Belgian Consumer Association is triumphant, gender discrimination among insurance providers will cease as early as 2012. The basis for the case cites the rights outlined in the Lisbon Treaty. The treaty was passed and signed by the preceding Labour Government officials.
According to Association of British Insurers, a successful challenge by the Belgian Consumer Association will lead to a rise in premiums for female drivers of about 25 percent. Premiums for male drivers should decrease around 10 percent. Overall, the decision will reinforce price discrimination, as female drivers under 26 will pay a much higher rate than their male counterparts.
The emotions surrounding the case are rising in expectation that in the end, this will cause another rise in premiums. Over the last few years, costs of gasoline and insurance premiums have steadily climbed higher, wreaking havoc on the budgets on drivers in the UK.
Among the complaints regarding high premiums, residents of Northern Ireland has called for an investigation into the insurance premiums in that region. Both women and men in Northern Ireland complain that their premiums are almost £300 higher than other UK residents. Jolene Cunningham, spokesperson for Consumer Council lamented saying, “This new ruling is a double blow for motorists in Northern Ireland”. Cunningham also explained that higher premiums could force drivers in rural areas into further isolation, as operating a vehicle will be too expensive.