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Gender Ruling

Today, 1st March 2011, the unimaginable has happened. The European Court of Justice has ruled that Insurers cannot charge different premiums to men and women.

The effects of this ruling will be far reaching and will take effect from 21st December 2012.

Insurance has always been risk based. This is why smokers or those with medical conditions will often face higher premiums. Quite simply, if someone is more likely to claim, they pay a higher premium.

Statistically, women live longer than men. It is therefore accepted that a woman is cheaper to insure for death benefit than a man. It also logically follows that a woman is likely to receive a pension income for longer than a man. Furthermore, we know that men are more likely to crash their car and should therefore pay higher motor insurance premiums.

This is all going to change. But what will this mean in practice? The following are likely outcomes from this ruling:


  • Life, health insurance and motor insurance premiums will reduce (although lets face it I can’t see insurers jumping to do this).
  • Pension annuity rates will fall.

If you are considering buying a pension annuity, do not delay until after December 2012. This could cost you dearly.


  • Life, health insurance and motor insurance premiums will increase (this will probably happen very quickly).
  • Pension annuity rates will rise.

Get in quick if you want life or health insurance. Consider opting for a fixed premium. Don’t wait until nearer to December 2012, in case insurers begin to ‘factor in’ the impending changes.

Of course at this stage we can’t anticipate the actual outcome of events. Insurance and annuity providers will be working very hard rethinking their business models during the time leading up to December 2012. It may be that insurance plans will change ahead of time in anticipation of the effects of this ruling.

If you are concerned about your own situation, you should take advice sooner rather than later.

This information is intended for guidance only and is not advice.

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Mr Peter Seabrook-Harris

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