Well that’s ex­ces­sive – car in­surer slugs young men dou­ble

The Advertiser - - NEWS - JOHN ROLFE

AUS­TRALIA’S largest in­surer is slyly slug­ging young male driv­ers with an ex­cess twice the size of that paid by young women.

Men aged 21 to 24 who make a claim on their Coles car in­sur­ance face an ad­di­tional ex­cess of $600. Women the same age pay only $300, on top of the stan­dard ex­cess paid by all cus­tomers.

Male driv­ers un­der 21 also pay $300 more than fe­male driv­ers the same age – $1200 ver­sus $900.

Coles’ un­der­writer, In­sur­ance Aus­tralia Group, has de­fended the prac­tice by say­ing young men make more claims. Yet IAG’s sis­ter brands don’t charge young men higher ex­cesses than women, nor does any other in­surer.

In Europe, in­sur­ers are banned from charg­ing men and women dif­fer­ently based purely on sex. But in Aus­tralia, in­sur­ers are ex­empt from the rel­e­vant dis­crim­i­na­tion laws.

Sex Dis­crim­i­na­tion Com­mis­sioner Kate Jenk­ins was unavail­able for com­ment.

Coles does not tell prospec­tive cus­tomers that it charges gen­der-based age ex­cesses in its prod­uct dis­clo­sure state­ment. It is re­vealed only once a cus­tomer has bought a pol­icy. IAG said it was dis­closed in the on­line quot­ing en­gine, al­though this oc­curs only if a prospec­tive pol­i­cy­holder clicks on a hy­per­link from the fi­nal page, which is for pay­ment.

Con­sumer group Choice said there needed to be more trans­parency.

“In­sur­ers who charge cer­tain driv­ers more be­cause of their age should clearly dis­close this in­for­ma­tion on a quote,” Choice spokes­woman Ste­fanie Menezes said.

IAG spokes­woman Annabelle Vo said: “If a driver has a lower chance of mak­ing a claim, then they will gen­er­ally pay a lower pre­mium and ex­cess com­pared to some­one who has a higher chance of mak­ing a claim.”

Hay­den Hugo moved to Coles car in­sur­ance be­cause it was cheaper. Then he dis­cov­ered he faced a higher ex­cess be­cause of his gen­der and age.

Mr Hugo con­sid­ered this to be “sex­ist” and has now left Coles for an in­surer that charges men and women the same.

He said he had a good driv­ing his­tory and should have been as­sessed on his own record, not that of oth­ers.

IAG says it will now re­view the way it dis­closes gen­der­based ex­cesses.

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