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October 2008 - New research from RIAS Insurance shows that people’s fears about finances are causing a significant shift in preferences and patterns of behaviour when buying a new car. The poll revealed that 32% of over 50s in the UK would choose their next car based on how many miles per gallon it does, indicating that the days are gone when make, model or even colour were enough to swing a deal – buying a car is now more about economics than aesthetics, with substance winning over style.

For the over 50s age group, the next most important feature is low emissions (13%) which perhaps conveys both people’s environmental concerns and a growing awareness that lower emissions mean lower car tax charges – again, a cost saving benefit. The results also show that safety features would be a significant draw (12%).

Other features, previously considered important, now languish at the bottom of the league table: just 6% care about the make or model, only 1% would choose their new car based on its colour, and 2% would be tempted by on-board technology and gadgets. Very low numbers of over 50s, 4% of respondents, say they would be influenced by the age of the vehicle, and a meagre 5% said they would consider engine size, namely potential speed, when deciding on which car to purchase.

The poll also revealed something that could send a shiver down the spines of car dealers all over the country: 50% of the over 50s, an age group considered more likely than most to treat themselves to a new car, will not be splashing out on a fresh set of wheels, and are even deciding against upgrading their cars at all at for the foreseeable future. In the present climate, half of over 50 year olds are simply ‘not interested’ in buying or changing their car this Autumn, and 1 in 10 potential buyers put that decision directly down to fears about the current economic climate and the continued threat of a recession.

Managing Director of RIAS Insurance, Janet Connor said: “We understand that many people are beset with worries about the escalating cost of keeping a car on the road, and that a big part of this is about the cost of fuel. People are holding on to their old cars more, and using them less, and even driving more slowly to try and save on fuel costs. But however many miles to the gallon a car does, and whatever make, model or colour is chosen, making sure you’re properly covered with appropriate car insurance is a non-negotiable part of driving a car. For the over 50s, particularly those who like to keep an eye on cost, it’s worth bearing in mind that one of the key benefits of insuring your car with an over 50s specialist insurer like RIAS is that we offer discounts for older drivers - and older cars, no matter how many miles they do to the gallon!” 1Prepared for RIAS by BMRB Omnibus: Telephone survey of 518 adults aged over 50, 7th September 2008

Janet Connor, Managing Director of RIAS is available for further comment and interview. To arrange an interview with, or photography of, Janet, please call Simon Robinson on 07976 329823 or e-mail

About RIAS

1) RIAS was established in 1992 and is a specialist provider of insurance products for the over 50s age group

2) RIAS negotiates with a panel of insurers to secure competitive, value for money products

3) RIAS has over 970,000 customers and employs over 1,100 people across two locations - Bournemouth and Belfast

4) In December 2007 RIAS won the ‘Personal Lines Broker of the year’ award at the Insurance Times awards

5) RIAS was ranked 2nd in the 2008 Auto Express Driver Power Survey on motor insurance and was rated best for claims payout

6) In August 2008 RIAS was awarded 2nd place by Which? magazine for home insurance customer satisfaction and rated best for settlement time on claims

7) RIAS received a Commendation at the 2008 CCF European Call Centre awards in the ‘best people practice’ category

8) RIAS is a finalist at the 2008 UK Broker Awards in the ‘Intermediary of the Year’ category

9) RIAS is a finalist at the 2008 Insurance Times Awards in the ‘Personal Lines broker of the year’

RIAS is part of Fortis (Insurance UK), a leading provider of award-winning personal and commercial lines insurance solutions in the UK and the 2007 British Insurance Awards 'General Insurer of the Year'. The insurer's successful customer-centric strategy has been founded on aligning its activities to how customers want to buy insurance, combined with delivering high quality products, manufactured at costs better than market norms.

Fortis's unique multi-distribution capability enables it to deliver products face-to-face, by phone (inbound and outbound), over the Internet and via SMS technology. Aligning its business activities with its partners' general insurance strategies enables Fortis to offer end-to-end white label capabilities in product development, marketing, campaign management, sales, fulfilment and claims - providing a seamless integration with partner brands.

Insuring in excess of 6.7 million customers and working with a range of partners, Fortis is recognised for delivering consistent and high-quality customer experiences. It employs 2,901 people as of 31/12/07 with a head office based in Eastleigh and others in Belfast, Bournemouth, Gloucester, Haywards Heath, Redditch, and Stoke-on-Trent. In 2007, its profit before tax and interest (excluding impact of weather related events) was £92.2 million and its GWP was 757.8 million.

For further information please contact: Sadie Sheppard RIAS Public Relations 01202 254489

RIAS House,
Deansleigh Road,
Dorset BH7 7DU
Telephone:01202 254545
Mobile: 07976 329823

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