Car insurance industry shaken by racism claims


The car insurance industry appears to have been shaken up by allegations – which they deny – that they are quoting higher premiums to people with non-English names.

An investigation by The Sun reported that several car insurance provider quotes were higher for a ‘Mohammed’ than ‘John Smith’.

Admiral, which came out worst, hit back claiming that the newspaper was not comparing “like with like”, and threatened legal action. The paper said they stood by their story.

Operation Black Vote carried out our own tests using online quote-finders and the results were inconclusive.

That raises the possibility that the car insurance sector changed their algorithms in the aftermath of the controversy to ensure that Asian and African names did not produce higher quotes.

Admiral told OBV that they continued to dispute the newspaper story, following our article last week, and said they were consulting their lawyers.

Admiral repeated their denials that there was any algorithm that altered quotes by ‘race’.

However, that leaves unanswered the question over why the newspaper investigation, and several members of the public, were offered higher quotes for non-English names using identical details apart from the name.

One possibility is that even if the same car details and address were used for both the English and non-English name, other differences like the email address could potentially produce different results.

OBV have called for the Financial Conduct Authority, Treasury Select Committee and the Financial Inclusion Commission to launch investigations into the issue.

If car insurance quote-finders no longer produce higher rates for people with non-English names that is welcome, however we will keep a watching brief over it.

Photo credit: NSMC