Date published: 01 March 2011
The European Court of Justice has ruled that insurers cannot charge different premiums to men and women because of their gender.
The ruling means that women can no longer be charged lower car insurance premiums than men.
The European Court of Justice upheld the decision reached by advocate general Juliane Kokott that it is legally inappropriate for insurers to link risk to a person's sex.
Labour Euro MP Arlene McCarthy has described the ruling as “discriminatory.”
Ms McCarthy said: “This ruling by the European Court of Justice will have dire consequences for women and as such is a strike against equal treatment.
“The facts show that women have fewer accidents than men so they should be able to benefit from cheaper premiums.
“Women will now have to pay up to 25% more for their car insurance, whilst men will see a 10% drop in their premiums.”
Ms McCarthy concluded: “The ECJ with a technical legal ruling has completely disregarded the political will of the legislator.
“This is not the end of the line.
“We will continue to fight for women not to be discriminated against because the evidence proves they are safer drivers.
“It is a perverse and discriminatory judgement and undermines the credibility of Europe.”
The requirement for unisex insurance premium and benefits will start on 21 December 2012, giving governments and the European insurance industry time to adjust.