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ABI wants action over gender agenda

The ABI is calling on the UK Government to take a stronger stance on proposed unisex rates for annuities ahead of a new EU presidency.

ABI head of EU and International affairs Hugh Savill wants British MEPs to lobby harder against the draft gender discrimination directive that could see unisex tariffs imposed on all annuity products.

Social affairs European commissioner Anna Diamantopolou is campaigning hard for the directive to be made law before the end of the current Italian presidency which finishes in May. It will be presented to the council of ministers in the next four weeks.

But Savill believes major work still needs to be done on one particular article which would make sex discrimination for insurance products such as motor insurance and annuities illegal and bring in unisex tariffs across the board.

Savill appreciates that the move is designed to cut female pensioner poverty but he says that changing the actuarial method will have the opposite effect and cut annuities for everyone and reducing the average household income for pensioner couples.

The European Commission is proposing a six-year transitional period that would allow product providers time to adapt to the new actuarial tables.

Savill says: “If this directive goes ahead then everybody will lose out. We do not want to see a unisex rate brought in for every pensioner. We are not opposed to this directive at all but this particular issue urgently needs addressing. Diamantopolou wants to see this brought back to Greece which, in my judgement, is going to be difficult.”

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