Five Questions About: Gender day


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The Independent Online

What? What has gender got to do with finance?

A lot more than in the past as – from 21 December – the UK is forced to comply with an EU directive that insurance firms can't discriminate on gender when it comes to pricing their products.

That's a good thing, then?

In theory, yes. In practice, the fact that insurers won't be able to offer cheaper car cover to women means many millions could end up paying more. By the same token, giving men higher payouts when they buy an annuity must also end, which will mean millions could end up with a lower income when they retire.

But shouldn't that leave some people better off?

Again in theory, yes. Men could get lower car insurance and women could get higher annuity rates. But there's not one firm that will do that.

So it's bad news?

Not necessarily. Insurers will have to find other ways to offer competitive deals, so may look more closely at other factors – such as health issues – when setting the price of the product. The more individual pricing comes in, the less some people will pay.

But doesn't that mean some people being forced to pay a lot more?

Yes. If you have the wrong profile, car insurance costs could rocket and your annuity rate could shrink.

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