Do women really put on their make-up while driving? Keith Hood thinks so…

 Written by Keith Hood.

If you were already upset that they tried to straighten our cucumbers
(I know I was), our friends in Brussels have now turned their attention to insurance products.

 On December 21, the EU is banning “gender pricing” of insurance products. So what is gender pricing?

 There are many differences between men and women as you know – for example, women live on average four years longer than men, so insurance companies have quite logically been charging them less for life insurance.

 On the other hand, when it comes to things like critical illness insurance they pay more, as unfortunately they have more likely to claim.

 It’s well known that women and men are charged very different amounts for car insurance due to their different driving habits and rules.

 For example, indicating when turning into Waitrose is entirely optional for ladies, particularly if applying their make-up at the time. Retired men driving any model of Rover are also apparently not permitted to drive at more than 23mph when in front of me, especially if I’m late.

 Car insurers who focus on selling to one particular gender may have a few marketing issues after December. So why shouldn’t those who pose the lowest risk to the insurance companies pay less – just common sense surely?

 The EU says that to charge different premiums based on gender is discrimination. But what next – how about age discrimination?

 Eighteen- year-old drivers may argue that they shouldn’t have to pay more for car insurance than 40-year-olds as it’s also discriminatory.

 Even annuities and personal pensions are affected (but not most occupational pensions). Currently men receive a larger annual pension from the same value fund as women because they are expected to die four years earlier – perfectly logical.

 However, from December both sexes will receive the same amount.

 Presumably things will be averaged with women’s annual income going up and men’s going down. Damn you Brussels.

 The products that will be affected are health insurance, car insurance, annuities and term life insurance.

 If you have a maturing annuity or personal pension looming, you need to discuss the optimum time to draw on it is with an independent financial advisor. Women should consider reviewing their life cover now, as the cost is likely to rise for them. Men considering health nsurance should look to buy now for the same reason.

Keith Hood is managing director of Warners Financial Services. Email or call 01953 607313.

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