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The binary gender not goes effectively with auto insurance, says Vero – Stuff.co.nz

Offering auto insurance premiums based on a customer's gender no longer suits a changing New Zealand society, Vero Insurance says.

The insurer is working to remove gender factors from its pricing and underwriting for consumer auto insurance.

Sacha Cowlrick, executive manager of consumer insurance at Vero, said there has traditionally been strong evidence that gender can determine a customer's likelihood of a claim being reported and is a legitimate part of building an individual's risk profile.

It has been reported that younger women in particular are less likely to fall than young men, but older women may be more at risk.

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But she said the company has always been careful about products being relevant, and the binary distinction between men and women these days is neither a reflection of modern New Zealand nor a true reflection of the gender spectrum of Vero's customers.

"In the past, insurers have compared data for 'male' and 'female' customers, but New Zealanders identify with a much wider range of gender identities," she said.

As vehicle technology becomes more sophisticated, insurers can get more data.

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As vehicle technology becomes more sophisticated, insurers can get more data.

"As a company, we've had the opportunity to try to rate or price a more diverse gender spectrum, but we've decided that it is easier and more inclusive to begin the process of removing genders from our underwriting."

Cowlrick said the process was complex and would take at least 12 to 18 months.

"There's strong evidence that gender and age together are factors that can help determine the likelihood of customers making a claim, and gender can have a significant impact on price for some age groups," she said .

“If we were to suddenly remove the gender rating from rewards, it would mean big changes to rewards for some customers when they renew. We need to work in the background to essentially "smooth out" the price differences to ensure that if we omit gender as a factor altogether, there are no sudden premium changes that customers are unprepared for. "

It is not so easy for women to face higher costs in the future, she said. "There is a pooling of risks and cross-subsidization."

She said customers would see rewards change over time, but it wouldn't be a “big bang”.

"We are aware of how we deal with change."

The company has increasingly had the ability to use real-world data on how people drove and that would affect pricing in the future, she said. "As cars become more and more computers on wheels, they will grow."

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