Dissertation: The consequences of differing car insurance premiums

Thu, 23 Aug 2018


Insurance companies use a range of factors to set car insurance premiums, some of which have unwelcome consequences. Much of the relevant philosophical and legal literature has focussed on when these factors constitute discrimination, and has sought non-consequentialist grounds to justify when discrimination is wrong. In this dissertation, I support Lippert-Rasmussen’s argument for consequentialism (2014). However, I argue that we should consider all consequences of differential pricing, and not merely those that constitute discrimination. I argue that such an analysis is pragmatic, allowing us to appeal to those with consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethical perspectives, and to more effectively recognise and reduce harms. I explore a range of potential consequences of different mechanisms for pricing car insurance: increased implementation costs, susceptibility to cheating, reduction in privacy, reduction in insurance, changes in behaviour, economic inequality, stigma and fairness. I argue that these consequences should be taken into account by companies, society, and regulators.


This was my dissertation for my MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 2018.