Controversy as premiums surge and gender gap widens

Suggestions that “ambulance chasing lawyers” are exploiting the system and driving costs higher

Controversy as premiums surge and gender gap widens

Insurance News

By Paul Lucas

On the surface it looks like the same old news once more as new research has revealed that car insurance premiums have risen once again – but this time, there is an added twist.

A report from shows that the typical car insurance premium now stands at £767, representing a rise of 14% in just one year. However, while that would usually be eye catching enough, this time the bulk of the attention has fallen on the fact that the gap between the average premiums for men and women has actually climbed despite the fact that insurers can no longer consider gender when assessing premiums.

According to the report, men pay an average of £812 for comprehensive car insurance as of the end of the final quarter of 2016, and that’s £101 more than the £711 paid by the average woman.

So while insurers cannot justify charging men more than women since the introduction of European rules at the end of 2012, Amanda Stretton of suggested they have simply become “more astute” and priced premiums based on the fact that men are more likely to drive to work, be in faster cars, and drive more miles – therefore increasing the probability of accidents. When the rules were introduced, found that men were paying just £27 more than women on average – a number that has surged since.

On the wider picture, however, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers James Dalton suggested that the real reason behind the hike was that many “ambulance chasing lawyers” are continuing to abuse the system while Insurance Premium Tax has also added more pressure on to the system.

“Motor insurance remains a highly competitive market, with motorists shopping around for the best deals,” he explained, “but pressure is growing on premiums.”

“Cold callers and ambulance-chasing lawyers are still finding ways to exploit the system, with government data suggesting a 5% increase in whiplash style claims. This is driving up costs for honest motorists.

“In addition, the government has doubled Insurance Premium Tax in just over a year, and repair bills are going up as cars get more sophisticated. So while insurers are doing all they can to control costs, these pressures show how important it is that the government’s latest proposals to tackle low value whiplash style claims are implemented fully and as quickly as possible, and that there is no rise in Insurance Premium Tax.”

Related stories:
Car insurance premiums leap by £97
The impact of IPT on insurance revealed


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