The EU Gender Equalisation Directive was drafted and  implemented in 2004 to ensure equal treatment between men and women in accessing goods and services. Insurance products were exempted from the initial implementation of the Directive as statistical evidence demonstrated that different health and longevity risks faced by men and women.

This exemption was removed on the 21st of December 2012. Gender as a factor in calculating a differential in premiums/benefits is now prohibited. This directly effects Life Cover, Mortgage Protection Cover, Whole of Life Cover, Pension Life Cover and Income Protection.

The replacement unisex costings are a blend of both male and female rates. Generally, more males initiate protection arrangements than women, and they tend to have higher levels of cover. As a result, the unisex premium is closer to the historic male rate than the female rate.

Employment and Occupation plans, such as Annuities and Group Risk, are specifically excluded from the scope of the Gender Directive. The Directive only covers insurance and pensions which are private, voluntary and separate from the employment relationship.

Information on the actual legislation in Ireland being drafted to implement the Gender Directive ruling, can be found by following this link: