EU DEAL REMOVES INSURANCE HIKE FOR WOMEN DRIVERS
2 Jan 2005 04:00 AM
The threat of increased premiums for many women drivers has been
dropped with under 30's making the biggest savings, thanks to a deal
agreed by all Member States in Europe, Women and Equality Minister
Jacqui Smith said today.
The EU Gender Directive, giving equal treatment to men and women in
goods and services, will still allow UK insurance firms to use gender
as a basis of risk if objective data can justify the difference.
Sex discrimination in the UK in goods and services is already illegal
under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act which has been successfully
protecting men and women for nearly 30 years. Once the Gender
Directive comes into effect, everyone in the 25 Member States will be
protected from discrimination on the grounds of gender in a range of
* Financial services such as banking, insurance and pensions.
* Sexual harassment in connection with all types of housing including
accommodation and hotels.
Deputy Minister for Women and Equality Jacqui Smith said:
"Gender discrimination is totally unacceptable.
"The rights we've enjoyed in the UK for nearly 30 years will now be
enshrined in this Directive for the benefit of all Europeans. This
achievement shows how Europe can develop solutions that are good for
us all - consumers and business -, when we listen to each other's
concerns and share each other's good ideas.
"It's good news on insurance, but this Directive covers much more
"It means that pregnant women in any Member State should not be
disadvantaged from getting mortgages because they are pregnant; that
married women should be free to get credit without a requirement for
their husbands to be guarantors, and that part time workers should be
able to apply for loans.
"The Directive will also protect the rights of UK citizens living and
working in the EU in the same way as they do under the Sex
Discrimination Act in the UK. What's good for the UK is certainly
good for Europe."
Notes to Editors
1. The EU Gender Directive is available at:
2. The UK already has comprehensive legislation in this area. The UK
1975 Sex Discrimination Act covers most of the general provisions of
the new Directive.
3. The European Commission published the draft Directive which aims
to extend the principle of equal treatment between women and men,
beyond the field of employment, in the area of access to goods and
supply of services, on 5 November 2003. The Directive will require
unanimous agreement between Member States.
4. Member States Ministers first considered the proposals at an EU
Employment Council on 1 June 2004. The Directive includes the
following areas within goods and services:
* services such as banking, insurance and other financial services;
* sexual harassment covering all types of housing, including rented
accommodation and hotels;
* services of any profession or trade.
5. All 25 MS gave their agreement at the General and External Affairs
Council on 13 December. Most of the provisions will take effect 3
years after the 'entry into force' date which is the date the
Directive is published in the Official Journal. This can be 2 - 3
weeks after the date of adoption (13 December).
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