Sheila’s Wheels sees European gender ruling as an “opportunity”

Sheila’s Wheels, the car insurance brand “designed with women in mind” has dismissed suggestions that a European ruling on removing gender discrimination for insurance products will affect its positioning.

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is expected to rule next week that it is illegal to offer different premiums depending on gender.

There have been suggestions that the ruling could see a drop in premiums for young male drivers while women drivers, generally regarded as more careful on the road, could see a big hike in premiums.

Sheila’s Wheels, owned by eSure, and other brands, such as Diamond, owned by Admiral, have positioned and marketed themselves as specialising in products for women, although men are also allowed to take out policies.

An eSure spokesman says that the company expects the ECJ ruling to be in favour of equality but that Sheila’s Wheels sees this as a “massive opportunity” that will bring more women to the brand.

He points out that because of the huge ratio of women to men holding Sheila’s Wheel’s policies, the cost of claims will be kept low and hence the cost of premiums. In a virtuous circle, more women will be attracted to the brand.

He admitted that the number of male drivers who may take up policies with Sheila’s Wheels is an unknown but it unlikely to offset the number of women with polices.

The company does not plan to run any marketing tailored specifically to the ECJ ruling as brand awareness is high. Sheila’s Wheels is currently running a television campaign. The spokesman says: “What people have not realised is that this ruling affects pricing but not marketing {of a product}.”

Diamond said the company had no comment to make about the ruling until it was law and the brand implications evaluated.

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