EU equality ruling: It’s pensions – not insurance – we should be worried about

2nd March 2011

Taking the gender of the insured individual into account as a risk factor in insurance contracts constitutes discrimination, the EU ruled on Tuesday.

While most coverage has played on the expected increase in insurance costs the real argument should not be about the equalisation of car insurance premiums.

Annoying as it may be for safer women drivers who will have to pay more, the ruling has far greated implications for pensioners' incomes.

The European Court of Justice, which decides whether countries, organisations and businesses are following European Union rules has decided that insurance companies cannot ‘discriminate' on gender.

Some experts believe the decision risks permanent damage to the prosperity of those who are close to retirement, certainly if they make the wrong decisions in the next few years.

Insurers have got until the end of 2012 to equalise things, but companies are expected to start factoring it into their prices long before then.

Up till now women have generally paid less for life insurance and more for a pension annuity – the product most people buy to pay them a pension – because they live longer.

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