Hastings Direct responds to doctor’s sexism allegation

Hastings Direct. Picture: Google Street View
Hastings Direct. Picture: Google Street View

A doctor has accused Hastings Direct of sexism after she was sent a letter about her direct debit payments.

Dr Bushra Gilchrist was sent a letter by the insurance company thanking her for ‘helping Mrs Gilchrist manage her car insurance’.

The letter said the loan was in Mrs Gilchrist’s name but that Dr Gilchrist had agreed to make the direct debits.

However, Dr Gilchrist and Mrs Gilchrist are the same person.

On Twitter, Dr Gilchrist said: “Interesting to know that Hastings Direct haven’t realised that women can be doctors too. Just received this letter having renewed my car insurance.

“Absolutely disgusted and outraged.”

In response, Hastings Direct said the letter was an ‘automated response’.

It said the letter was sent because Dr Gilchrist had taken out the policy under ‘Mrs’ but her payment (the name with her bank) is ‘Dr’.

Hastings Direct said its system thought they were two people.

Dr Gilchrist said she entered ‘Mrs’ as there was no facility to enter ‘Dr’ on the Hastings Direct website.

A Hastings Direct spokesman said: “We have looked into this and have identified that letters similar to that received by Dr Gilchrist have been issued to both female and male policyholders, where the title entered during the policy application process hasn’t matched the details on the direct debit payment instruction.

“In the case of Dr Gilchrist, she selected ‘Mrs’ on the price comparison website where she started the application process as there was no option to select ‘Dr’. When subsequently entering her payment details via our own website she selected ‘Dr’, which led the system logic to think that it was two different people.

“We are of course, very sorry for any distress this has caused Dr Gilchrist and as a priority, we are looking at how we can refine our system rules to better identify when presented with differing titles so that misunderstandings of this nature do not occur in the future.”

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