EU gender ruling could force woman to seek new cover immediately

A European ruling on gender equality could force millions of female drivers into renewing their insurance policies once it comes into force, reports The Telegraph.

In a private letter sent by the ABI to its board members, it told them to prepare for a judgment by the European Court of Justice that using a person's sex to calculate insurance premiums is illegal.

However the ABI has also now acknowledged that the ruling could apply to existing insurance contracts.

The move has prompted experts to fear that this would immediately push up the costs of motor insurance premiums for women by a quarter.

Acting director general Maggie Craig said in the letter that the judgement is expected at the beginning of March.

"After careful consideration, our firm advice is that member companies should make the necessary preparations for a judgment by the ECJ that as a general principle differences in premiums and benefits in insurance contracts based on gender are illegal.

"We cannot safely determine whether the judgment will apply to existing contracts. However, we advise member companies to include in their preparations the possibility that the judgment may apply to existing contracts."