Friends Life says protection applications must be fully underwritten and on risk by 21 December for customers to obtain gender-specific prices.
Announcing its gender pipeline plans today, the provider says it will guarantee an underwriting decision before 21 December if the application is received before 14 December. While an underwriting decision will be guaranteed, the customer must still accept terms and the policy must be on risk by 21 December for gender-specific premiums to apply.
It would still be possible to obtain gender-specific premiums if the provider receives the application after 13 December as long as it can be underwritten and placed on risk by 21 December. But the provider says it cannot guarantee an underwriting decision if the application is received on 14 December or afterwards.
Where further medical information is needed and is not available by 21 December, Friends Life will re-offer the terms on a gender-neutral basis. However, it anticipates “the vast majority” of applications to go through without the need for further medical evidence.
Friends managing director of protection Steve Payne (pictured) says: “We are taking a very clear approach to the EU gender directive which states that we must offer protection cover on a gender-neutral basis from 21 December. Our approach will provide advisers with a clear underwriting decision before the deadline so they can actively manage the protection needs of their clients and provide as many customers as possible with the opportunity to select gender-specific rates from Friends Life.
“This does not mean we will be able to offer gender-specific terms in every case as there are likely to be some instances where further information is required. However, we will do everything we can to get that additional information before the deadline to enable us to put a case on risk.”
In March 2011, the European Court of Justice ruled that insurers cannot price products based on gender from 21 December.
Last week, Money Marketing revealed PruProtect will switch to gender neutral pricing on 21 December for all products except its whole-of-life plan, which would switch on 3 November. The provider says all of the underwriting must be completed by 21 December to secure gender-specific rates.
Earlier this month, Aegon announced that protection customers must accept terms on completed contracts before 21 December in order to secure gender specific rates and it would set up a gender team to help with the application process. Legal & General has adopted the same approach.
Zurich will switch to gender-neutral rates on its whole-of-life plan and income protection plan on 10 December and its level protection and decreasing mortgage plan on 17 December. All applications still in the underwriting process after 20 December will be offered gender-neutral rates.
Bright Grey and Scottish Provident, on the other hand, will give limited “initial” cover to customers with applications in the pipeline until the underwriting has been completed. Cases in the pipeline have until 22 March to complete to secure gender specific rates.
Ageas Protect will enter into a contract with the customer before the underwriting stage, although the customer will only be covered for accidental death cover until the underwriting is complete.
Money Marketing revealed LV= will switch to gender-neutral rates on 1 December, but will offer gender-specific rates to customers who submit applications before that date.
Aviva is the only major provider yet to release its gender plans.