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Careful drivers wanted....!

Following the decision of the European Court of Justice in Association belge des Consommateurs Test-Achats ASBL v Conseil des ministres - C-236/09 [2011] All ER (D) 07 (Mar); [2011] Lloyd's Rep IR 296; [2011] NLJR 363 which declared unlawful the practice by insurers of using gender to determine the price of motor insurance, claims for additional motor insurance costs in schedules will need to be reassessed.

It is now common to see included under the heading of “Future travel / transport” a claim for the additional insurance which an injured Claimant will have to pay as result of having to insure a vehicle to be driven by his or her carers. Currently such claims usually range from about £500 to £2,000 per year.

When the current practice of insurers becomes unlawful on 21 December 2012 most commentators believe that male premiums will not fall by as much as female premiums will rise. The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) estimates that the decision will mean that women will typically pay up to 25% more for their motor insurance. For some women it will be more than 50%.

This is potentially significant because many of those caring for people with learning or physical difficulties are women and frequently young women. Research by moneysupermarket.com (http://www.moneysupermarket.com/c/news/how-young-drivers-can-cut-insurance-costs/0011053/) suggests premiums for female drivers have been rising fast. Over the last year premiums for women aged between 17 and 25 have risen by 34% or an average of 70 pence a day.

Insurance for young men is already very expensive. An 18 year old male who has recently passed his driving test driving 10,000 miles a year in a 2005 Ford Fiesta can expect to pay at least £6,016 for his motor insurance according to moneysupermarket.com.

Following the decision in Association belge, it can no longer be assumed that a Claimant will pay less if the carers driving him or her are female particularly if, as is often the case, they are not included as named drivers on the relevant motor insurance policy. Although it is still 18 months until December 2012 the cost of male and female premiums is likely to converge long before that time and these increased costs will need to be reflected in the claims made for travel and transport costs in future schedules.



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