Insurance premiums based on unisex pricing rules

Dr Jonathan Pisani | Published on 17 Apr 2012

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The EJC delivered judgment in the Test-Achats case (C-236/09), and overturned what had become a common practice by insurers to determine insurance premiums predominantly on the basis of gender.  This practice had previously escaped the brunt of EU equality laws on account of on an exemption in article 5(2) of Directive 2004/113/EC (implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services) which permitted insurers to discriminate on the basis of gender in individuals’ premiums and benefits.  

The European Commission (EC) responded by adopting a set of guidelines which explain the effects of the judgment on insurers’ practices and steps which should be taken following article 5(2) having been declared illegal by the ECJ's ruling.  ‘New contracts’ of insurance are given special attention since they bear the main focus of the ECJ’s ruling, and require their compliance with the principles in the judgment from the 21 December 2012 onwards. 
The guidelines provide various practical recommendations on the implications of the judgment.  They provide individual examples of new contracts, and explain how certain gender-based practices may be used without falling foul of the Test-Achats judgment.  It is thought that insurers will benefit from these guidelines by amending their practices accordingly in time for the 21 December 2012 deadline imposed by the ECJ.

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