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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Some other ceilings lower than glass

The European Parliament has approved in principle anti-discrimination proposals which would outlaw discrimination on grounds of sex in pricing of all forms of insurance. No exception has been allowed for discrimination even on objective grounds. The effects of the proposal are likely to be that women would enjoy cheaper annuity rates and health insurance, but would be likely to pay more for life insurance and motor insurance.

Opinion on the merits of these proposals is understandably deeply polarised (not necessarily on sexual lines). Perhaps the closest parallel is with the continuing divergence of views on the use of genetic tests, where the gap between those who argue from the perspective of social objectives and those who claim ‘freedom to underwrite’ remains very wide.

The House of Lords is undertaking an inquiry into the consequences of the current proposals, which have generally been resisted by associations of insurers.