Conservative Member of the European Parliament Marina Yannakoudakis raised objections today to a report tabled in the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights Committee on equal treatment between men and women in the field of insurance.

The report was drafted as a response to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling which banned insurers from applying different premiums according to customers’ gender. This will lead to women’s car insurance premiums going up by an estimated 10-15%.

Marina, who is the Conservative Spokesman on Women’s Rights, said: “Women statistically represent a lower risk than men. As the price of premiums is calculated on the basis of risk, insurers should be allowed to take this into account.

“The report fails to question the validity of the ECJ’s ruling. It focuses on how to deal with the ‘social consequences’ of the decision rather than making any rational recommendations. We need a common-sense interpretation of EU rules on equality or we need to revise them.

“I shall be submitting amendments to the report to ensure that women don’t pay the price for equality with higher insurance premiums.”

Note to editors:

Insurance premiums were previously exempt from anti-discrimination legislation, but on 1 March 2011 the European Court of Justice ruled that insurers would no longer be allowed to take the gender of their customers into account when setting premiums. The industry has been given until 21 December 2012 to prepare for the change. Link to ruling: http://bit.ly/vnDyHt

London Labour MEP Mary Honeyball welcomed the ruling, saying, “The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has done its job admirably well by ruling that taking the gender of the insured individual into account as a risk factor in insurance contracts constitutes discrimination.”

In response to Ms. Honeyball’s reaction, Prime Minister David Cameron said, “Some of the loony left is still alive and well in our country. Frankly, insurance premiums ought to reflect risk”: http://bit.ly/rxW3yP

The European Parliament report on “Transposition and application of Council Directive 2004/113/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services” has been drafted by Zita Gurmai, a Socialist MEP from Hungary.

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