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Treasury wants views on gender pricing

The Government is seeking industry views on how the European Court of Justice’s decision to ban gender pricing in insurance contracts will affect the UK.

In March, the court confirmed that gender pricing for insurance contracts will be abolished from December 21, 2012. This followed an opinion from advocate general Juliane Kokott last year that using gender as a risk factor when pricing insurance is discriminatory.

The UK Government consultation, launched last week, reiterates policymakers’ view that the judgment will not apply to existing contracts signed before December 21, 2012.

It is now seeking views on what impact the ruling will have on consumers and the industry and how it should be drafted into UK law.

Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban says: “While nobody should ever be treated unfairly because of their gender, financial services providers should be allowed to make sensible decisions based on sound analysis of risk.

“We continue to work hard with other member states and the commission to secure legal certainty for industry and reduce any detrimental effects for consumers.”

The Treasury expects the ruling to increase the cost of premiums for consumers. Insurers will face transitional costs due to changes to underwriting practices, marketing and sales approaches.

Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham says: “Men and women are currently offered different rates on annuities and income protection based on gender, so this will level out those situations.”

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