Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New anti-sexist insurance ruling: masculinazi?

Sometimes questioning feminist demands for equality on this blog, I point to those inequalities that work in women's favour, like the sexual discrimination of motor insurance companies who charge men higher premiums.

But the European Court of Justice has just ruled that this discrimination is unacceptable and from December 2012 insurance companies will have to charge the same. This will force companies to push up premiums for those groups considered low risk, like young women.

While seemingly a victory for equality, I have the same doubts about this as about all equality regulation, that it may have unintended consequences, not least the increased cost to insurance companies that may be pushed onto the customer.

In any case, feminist demands for regulation to fight sexism are sometimes denounced, absurdly, as "feminazi". In this case the demand has been for regulation to fight anti-male sexism.

Is this a case of masculinazism?


  1. I was surprised to learn of this via BBC yesterday. Any small concession in favour of women is wrong? It is a simple matter of risk assessment, methinks! But to be fair to men who are careful drivers, I would suggest same premium to start with and then special concessions/reductions/rewards over the years be awarded to those who show remarkable sense on the roads - men and women.

  2. Hehe, my insurance experience has been quite weird! I first got car insurance when I was 25, and when I went to renew it a year later the premium had roughly halved. This was because under-25 drivers were considered higher risk! So, without being aware of any change in my own driving behaviour, my premium was slashed because my age changed!

    Of course this is ageist discrimination. The insurance company makes a decision about my probable behaviour based on my age. Their continued use of higher premiums for males is sexist discrimination.

    Yet I suspect there are lots of ways that casual discrimination based on age and sex happen in society, but which are generally ignored. Perhaps I'm being cynical, but I am not too bothered by this. I understand that the proportion of young men who drive too fast is higher than the proportions of other groups, and I recognise that higher premiums are, while unfair to individuals, logical to the insurance companies. Likewise I understand that police might stop and search young men far more often than other groups for the same reason.

    This is part of why I'm not so quick to complain about discrimination when I see it in society. It may sometimes be reasonable. (No? I'm still not sure about my stance on this.)


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