global insurance management

The Gender Directive


Feb 27 2012

The Gender Directive

Relevance:             All firms

Action required:     Awareness only - update on the “Gender Directive”.

Last year we alerted firms to the ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the use of gender as a factor in determining and pricing risk is discrimination.  As a result, from 21 December 2012 insurance companies will no longer be allowed to take someone's sex into account when calculating annuity rates and insurance premiums.

The court’s decision ended a process that began in 2004 when the European Commission published the Gender Directive, which provides for equal treatment of men and women in the supply of goods and services.

The European insurance industry believes that the impact of the court’s ruling will be unintended but extensive and, in general, negative for consumers.

This matter seemed to have gone quiet since then although inevitably much work behind the scenes was taking place.  And then, in December last year:

  • HM Treasury published a consultation paper showing that UK legislation will seek to apply the judgment only to new contracts entered into after 21 December 2012 as well as seeking views on other areas including; the continued collection of gender data; defining a new contract; indirect discrimination; and application to group schemes.
  • The EU Commission released guidance on implementing the ECJ judgment, which aimed to clarify a series of issues identified during consultations.

We will keep your informed of further developments as they occur.

However, do bear in mind that the ECJ’s ruling on gender equality in the insurance market may not be the end.  More sweeping change is looming in the form of the proposed EU Anti-Discrimination Directive on age and disability.

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