11th December 2012


If you're thinking about setting up a Life, Serious Illness or Income Protection type insurance policy then there are some things about the EU Gender directive you need to know. And the deadline is December 21st.

In the wake of our sixth Austerity Budget many of us are seeking ways of saving money on things we think are necessities over the next while. Christmas will be a time of belt tightening for many people as they save up so they can have some special things on the big day of celebration. So December 25th is a day to look forward to for most people even if it's only as a respite.

It isn't the only deadline approaching though. The EU's equality mandate on insurance also comes into effect on December 21st and it will have a significant effect on the insurance premiums of both men and women around the country. Obviously there will be changes in yearly renewable policies such as car-insurance but the real difference and where real savings may be gained is in the Life sector where policies are over several years or a lifetime. Importantly policies in force on 21st December will not be affected by the Gender Directive during the policies lifetime. This will only be of benefit for a year on a car-insurance policy but on a life-insurance policy it could affect a premium for over 20 years and more.

What is the Gender Directive?
In March 2011, the ECJ ruled that insurance companies should no longer charge separate rates for insurance for males and females of the same age from December 21, 2012. This will affect car insurance, life assurance, specified illness, income protection and annuities.

What will happen on 21st of December?
Life Cover: The cost of life cover for women will rise. For some insurers the current difference between the cost of cover for women and men is15% - 35%. With men paying more at the moment.

Income Protection: There will likely be a large increase in the cost of income protection for men. The current differential between men and women is around 50% for some insurers. All business not completed before the 21st of December will move to the new gender neutral rates so unless you have completed your documentation and commenced your policy before then then the rate will change.

Applicants for each policy not commenced before that date will be informed that the rate has changed and insurers will require a new instruction to commence the policy at the new rates.

Any quotes issued before the 21st of December will no longer be valid.

Who can save before December 21st?
  • Women can avoid increases in Life cover
  • Men can avoid increased costs on Income Protection
  • Younger men and older women may avoid paying extra for specified illness/serious illness type coverage.
  • Females with Convertable Term Assurance type policies may benefit from converting these policies early.

What benefit will you get for commencing a policy before December 21st?
Those who commence their cover before 21 Dec 2012, will avail of a guaranteed rate that won't increase when gender equalisation comes in.

Last minute tip
Don’t leave it to the last minute. Remember, some complex cases can take time to set up.