Tag Archives: Gender Directive

Could the high cost of car insurance be putting young females at risk?

taxihailingA survey carried out by price comparison website Gocompare.com has revealed that thousands of young women are putting themselves at risk by accepting lifts with strangers or with drivers who’ve either had an alcoholic drink or used recreational drugs.

Around one in 17 women (6%) aged between 17 and 25 who are non-drivers have on at least one occasion accepted a lift home with a virtual stranger.

More than one in seven (13%) have been a passenger in a car driven by someone who’d had an alcoholic drink or taken recreational drugs.

However, nearly one in five young women who don’t drive (18%) has also experienced violence, aggression or harassment directed at them or another passenger whilst using public transport.

Over a third (36%) of young women non-drivers responding to the survey said that driving and car ownership was too expensive and 38% said they could not afford driving lessons. A quarter (26%) said that they felt they had less freedom than their friends with cars.

Gocompare.com’s customer insight manager, Claire Peate, said: “There’s no doubt that learning to drive and getting your first car can be an expensive business, but it seems that some young women are taking risks with their own safety because they can’t get around as easily as their friends. Parents will be alarmed to learn that thousands of young women and teenagers are accepting lifts from people they hardly know, and are also being driven around by people who are possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“For many the alternative is to use public transport, but there again our research shows that young women have experienced aggression or harassment directed towards them or another passenger whilst using buses and trains.

“Young women, and indeed anyone, on a night out should follow some basic rules for staying safe. If you’re with a group of friends, stay together as much as possible until you’re home. Do not accept lifts from strangers and if you are offered the chance of a lift home by a friend make sure they’re in a fit state to be driving. Keep some money aside for an emergency taxi home and never be too proud to ring a parent or friend and ask them to pick you up. They’re sure to be much happier you called on them than for you to take a risk with a lift from a stranger or a drunk driver.”

From FOXY’s point of view the exorbitant cost of car insurance has a lot to do with this, thanks mainly to the 2012 Gender (Mis)Directive.

The consequences of the high cost of motoring

public transport policeKnowing that the number of young male drivers has fallen as a result of soaring insurance rates this is now our turn to be affected, regardless of statistical risk and gender safety concerns. Young females who can’t afford to drive are damned to potential harassment or worse when using public transport and occasionally taxis, are damned to isolation if they live in rural areas and damned if they then rely on richer friends to drive them home, who might take risks.

What is a young girl to do to have a social life? How is she to keep her job options open if she can’t afford to drive to move on in her career?

The insurance industry needs to think this one through again because cherry-picking rich young drivers isn’t the right way forward nor is it any guarantee of safer drivers or lesser risk. Quite the contrary it seems.


New insurance website for women

We’re launching FOXY Lady Insurance today. It’s a new insurance website in the FOXY mould, for women and to help them find the best value insurance products in the wake of the Gender Directive.

Yes, price comparison websites do a great job in telling us what our choices are but as we all know from TV advertising not every insurer is there and you just might miss a better value deal by not trawling them all.

We also find that many women trust their existing insurers to invite their renewal at favourable terms when this mightn’t always be the case; especially now that insurers seem free to charge some women more for their motor and life insurance.

So we’re here to help women find a fair deal and pay a value for money price for the cover they need.

In a nutshell we’re inviting you to request a quote through our services (whether this is for motor, home, life, health or business insurance) and we’ll arrange for a FSA authorised and FOXY Lady Approved insurance adviser to take over.

That person may or may not be female (we think our register will include a lot of females but we’re equally impressed by men who listen and know their female friendly products) but they will ALL have signed the FOXY Lady Insurance Promise to…

“Always represent the best interests of women by listening to their needs before identifying value-for-money and female friendly insurance solutions to fit the bill.”

So if you know someone whose insurance renewal is imminent, has shot up this year or who’d like to discuss insurance matters with a friendly and informed insurance professional be sure to tell them about FOXY Lady Insurance so they can see if their quote is as good as it can be.


Are female drivers beginning to rule the road?

Statistically speaking, female road users are on the rise. Research by the RAC Foundation confirms that the number of women to hold a UK driving licence between 1995 and 2010 has risen by 23% resulting in 13.8 million female motorists on the UK’s roads.

This is in contrast to the number of male drivers which has grown by just 9% over the same period.

The RAC also revealed the number of miles women drive each year is rising at the same time as the equivalent statistic for males is decreasing, factoring a gender transition that switches the female from the passenger side to the driver’s seat.
The change can be documented due to the adjustment in lifestyle for women who often get married later in life, delay having children and are increasingly leading independent lives. The car plays a pivotal role in this lifestyle change, enabling women to get about more freely. It is also being felt in the US where over 50% of drivers licence holders are now women according to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The change also has safety and environmental impact as females are more likely to purchase smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Women in Trucking
The US is undergoing an even more dramatic change in the traditionally male-dominated trucking sector where 5% of women account for the country’s three million truck drivers. This is a marked increase over the 1% recorded in Europe and is arguably due to the influential organisations such as Women in Trucking (WIT) which have worked tirelessly to change attitudes in the sector. The group has also puts forward proposals to address the US driver shortage with a recruitment guide to attract female applicants.  Women in Trucking has also begun building significant inroads to education and government institutions, which could provide further female motoring career opportunities in the future.
Although organisations like WIT have worked hard to promote female equality in transport the ‘Automobile’ and its industry should forever be indebted to women following the role of Bertha Ringer in 1909. Bertha completed a 50 mile cross country trip (the first in a horseless carriage across the United States) and inspired public opinion to believe that the automobile could be a safe, reliable and effective method of transport. Without the journey the automobile may never have been as popular and evolved in the ways we recognise it today.

Female role models for road safety 
Female drivers also lead as role models for road safety due to their more cautious nature than male counterparts. Statistically younger males are 10 times more likely to be killed or injured then a driver over 35 whilst the typical insurance claim for a male is three times that of a female in the UK. In spite of this, the new Gender Directive which came into effect on 21 December prevents the discrimination of insurance based on gender, resulting in significant increases in premiums for younger female drivers in particular. Whilst this could impact on the number of female drivers taking to the road in future, it is unlikely to counterbalance the changing demographics of motoring.
Guest blog

This is a Guest Blog contributed on behalf of Pannone Law Firm, Driving Offence Solicitors and specialists in UK Motoring Law.

The impact of the Gender Directive so far…

A new law that was sneaked in on 21 December last under cover of Christmas means that many young women will soon be feeling the pinch when their car insurance renewal notice hits the doormat.

Thanks to the EU and an evident absence of anyone sticking up for women drivers when this was first mooted more than 10 years ago (long before FOXY was conceived…) the Gender Directive is now law in the UK. This prevents insurers from using statistical evidence to calculate premiums, proof that most young women are safer drivers than many young men, for example.

Of course there’s an inherent unfairness here as young men can be safe drivers and young women dangerous ones but the way I see it, if I was setting up an insurance business (and this would apply to any financially switched on business man I’m sure) I’d base my premiums on known risk factors for starters then apply good driving rewards and bad driving penalties on an individual basis thereafter.

Which is what black box telematics are all about of course. They are fitted in your car to assess your driving style and, hopefully, will incentivise young drivers to drive responsibly on the basis of a financial reward. Let’s hope the young men that need them most buy them…

But whether the eventual financial reward will ever reinstate the advantageous premiums that young women have paid in the past remains to be seen.

Are insurers consistent in their approach to gender?

It’s not going to be easy to monitor whether insurers are being consistent here or treating men and women the same because there are so many other risk factors that they are allowed to take into consideration when calculating premiums. These include a driver’s age, occupation, postcode, anti-theft devices, age/value/model of car, engine size, annual mileage, multiple car ownership, named drivers, previous claims, the policy excess, modifications and probably other factors I’ve forgotten today.

But we’ll be keeping our eyes open here…

What’s new after the Gender Directive?

In a nutshell, we have to rely on insurers doing the right thing for women from now on. Good insurers will want to demonstrate added value for money to their female customers, knowing that young drivers in particular may be facing dramatically higher premiums.

There is a clear move towards black box technology to not only reduce the number of road accidents young drivers are involved in but also to keep their premiums down. This could be a good thing and fortunately it’s a very competitive area which will keep prices down. You’ll find out more about this and the key players at the comparethebox website to which should be added a new entrant called ‘Drive Like A Girl‘ ; a name that’s unlikely to attract any male interest I’d have thought!

We are also noticing a lot of short term tactical advertising targeting women drivers. Women are more attracted by loyalty card points than men, freebies and designer handbags for that matter, so we’re not surprised to see these on offer at price comparison websites, Facebook, from supermarket and female-oriented insurance brands. Far be it for me to suggest a handbag competition approach might be seen as patronising by some women but I have heard this word mentioned recently.

The best approach, we believe, is to see the Gender Directive as an opportunity to build a long term relationship with women as a result of doing something that is demonstrably in their long term best interests. An example of a customer service initiative that illustrates this well is that of Ageas Insurance who asked us to develop a FOXY Lady Approved© female friendly standard for their accident repair centres, much as we had done for garages previously. This has since been organised by our FOXY Choice website and approximately 100 Ageas Solution Centres are now members of the new network. Together we are spreading the news that women have a choice of female friendly repairers at accident time and a start has been made here.

This is also a commitment to higher services levels for men because bodyshops and garages that get service levels right for fussy women (like me) are automatically doing a better job for men too.

Finally if you’d like to leave feedback about ANY garage, accident repair centre or recent insurance experience after the Gender Directive we’d love to hear from you HERE.

We need you to tell us so we can share instances of best (and worst) practice with other women drivers.