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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Government delivers clarity on gender ruling for UK insurers

The UK government has signalled its intention to amend domestic law to deliver certainty for insurers over the use of gender as a risk factor in light of the forthcoming European ban.

Any contracts with gender-sensitive pricing of premiums or benefits concluded ahead of 21 December 2012 will be allowed to continue unchanged after that date.

Financial secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban said the government would proceed with amendments to schedule 3 of the Equality Act 2010 on this basis, while expressing disappointment at the European Commission’s declared intention not to amend the wording of the gender directive. Mr Hoban said that this would leave it inconsistent with the European Court of Justice ruling, and that the government would be seeking a reversal of this decision.

Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers, welcomed the move, saying: "This... is good news for the millions of pensioners who could have been affected if these rules had to be applied retrospectively.

"The decision by the European Court to ban gender in the use of insurance pricing was disappointing as it could have an impact on our customers. Insurers are working hard to mitigate any effects and today’s confirmation that the new rules will only apply to policies taken out from 21 December 2012 will certainly help."