New gender neutrality directive to hit insurance industry

On 5 November, the Commission proposed a new directive prohibiting gender discrimination in the provision of goods and services. The directive would explicitly address the insurance sector.

A new proposal for a Council directive, presented by the Commission on 5 November, sets out to tackle gender discrimination with regard to access to and supply of goods and services. In particular, the directive addresses the insurance sector.

A Commission press release says that, under the proposal, "...the use of sex as a factor in the calculation of premiums and benefits for insurance and related financial services would be prohibited."

Women, for instance, tend to pay higher premiums for pension, annuities and health insurance, while men tend to pay more for life insurance and (in some cases) for motor insurance.

Comité Européen des Assurances Director-General Daniel Schanté warned on 5 November about the possible adverse effects of this directive on consumers. "The proposed directive may well lead to higher insurance prices for all consumers. This could be the consequence of a hasty decision by the Commission without adequate consultation of interested parties," said Mr Schanté.

The proposal will need to be unanimously approved by the Council after the European Parliament has been consulted.


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