Men to be hit by early moves to ban gender pricing in insurance

Thousands of male pension savers will be left out of pocket as leading insurers are enforcing a European Union rule banning gender pricing ahead of schedule.

A European Court of Justice ruling that gender can no longer be taken into account when an insurer calculates premiums is supposed to come into force from 21 December. But the insurance giant Prudential has pre-empted the EU deadline and has started to offer pension savers a gender neutral annuity.

"A lot of men looking to convert their pension into an annuity are going to rue this decision," Tom McPhail, the head of pensions at the FTSE 100 financial advice firm Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Men can [currently] expect to gain a much more lucrative annuity than women because their life expectancy is lower. Gender neutral pricing could cost men thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds over the remainder of their lifetimes," Mr McPhail added.

Prudential said it had moved ahead of schedule in order to provide its customers with "certainty and a definite timeline for advisers and clients".

Scottish Widows will also introduce gender neutral pricing well ahead of next month's deadline.

Aviva, the biggest insurer in the country, is believed to be poised to move to gender neutral pricing at the end of this month.

In some cases, once gender neutral pricing comes in, men could see their annuity income cut by as much as 12 per cent if they start receiving the same rate as women.

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