The European Council of Ministers is expected to vote through a directive on unisex underwriting of insurance products in December that observers describe as a five-year fudge.
The UK will be given a five-year opt-out of a ban on gender underwriting. In five years, the EC will report on whether gender underwriting should be allowed to continue and any permission to continue the opt-out will be subject to the findings.
Standard Life senior technical manager John Lawson says providers will not be able to give their own annuity tables to the EC as evidence of different mortality between the sexes as the information is commercially sensitive. Without evidence, the EC will argue that gender underwriting is not made on true gender differences.
Lawson says: “This five-year fudge is a classic straight banana.”