April 27, 2012

Hey Fellas, suggests the latest edition of the Sunday Times’ “In Gear” section, want to get yourself a low low premium? Then consider becoming a nurse!

Actually, it didn’t quite say that. But, then again, it sort of did. Following the introduction of the EU Gender Rules next year, the ST predicted, insurers will focus increasingly on quote requesters’ stated occupations.

Wily old EU lawmakers quickly sussed that simply banning insurers from asking quote-seekers’ sex, would not be enough. Not when handy proxy questions such as shoe size, first toy or favourite colour as child could be used. Let’s face it, first names tend to be a bit of a giveaway – unless you’re a Frances, a Spacelab or a PJ.

Oh no, those crafty eurolegislators, required that, even if you do happen to know a person’s sex, you can’t allow that knowledge to influence your underwriting decision. The ST quotes LMA geezer David “DP” Powell, who muses poetically that “Occupation is an area where we are expecting greater weighting within risk pricing.”

“It’s very useful,” DP explains, perhaps a little too candidly, “because insurers can’t be accused of using it as a proxy for gender” as it is “a statistically independent factor.” Of the 386 job categories identified by the Office of Notional Statistics, only 48 have roughly equal male-to-female ratios, the report reports.

Most professions go one way or the other, and – purely coincidentally – the female dominated ones tend to be much better motor insurance risks than the male dominated ones.

Gender previously accounted for 16% of a person’s risk profile, according to the LMA, compared with 25% for age and “7%-13%” for profession. With sex out of the question, underwriters will be forced to fall back on profession, which could now assume the same importance as age.

So just being female is no longer a free-ride ticket to Cut-Price Premium City. Whilst on average men are expected to see their premiums fall by around 8%, women will see theirs rise by 18%. So, what you have to do now, Ladies, is get back into a properly feminine line of work.

Forget about being a footballer, mobile-disco person or a night club owner (confusing.com’s top three high-risk motor insurance professions) and focus on something sex-appropriate like primary school teacher, nurse or masseuse (note spelling).

What you really don’t want to be is a plumber, a profession whose adherents are both predominantly male and lousy drivers – and, sometimes, just a little bit sexist.


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