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William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Are Unisex Mortality Tables Coming to America?

Posted by William Byrnes on October 6, 2011

“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” goes the saying from the popular self-help book. But in a recent ruling, the European Court of Justice said that, although statistically verifiable, you’d better not acknowledge the 100 million mile (sorry, kilometer) gap between men and women when you’re pricing life insurance premiums.

The highest court in the EU ruled earlier this year that the long-standing practice of basing insurance premiums on gender is sex discrimination that is prohibited under EU law. Despite hundreds of years of data verifying the simple fact that women live longer than men, insurance carriers in the EU will soon be prohibited from considering gender when setting insurance premiums.

Under EU law, “[e]quality between women and men must be ensured in all areas, including employment, work and pay.” The European policy generally has been applied to remove gender discrimination in the workplace. But a 2004 European Directive “prohibits all discrimination based on sex in the access to and supply of goods and services.” And that directive has been specifically applied to access to life insurance.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of the Life Insurance Gender Gap in Advisor’s Journal, see Is the Life Insurance Gender Gap Really Closing? (CC 11-68).

One Response to “Are Unisex Mortality Tables Coming to America?”

  1. Richard said

    Never happen in the US. Women’s lobby is too strong. Women in the US currently have the best of both worlds. They pay the same taxes and get the same monthly Social Security benefit even though they live longer during retirement, and they pay less for life insurance. Europe will find that going unisex leads to adverse selection and problems with lack of coverage. But it will be years or decades before they realize the downside.


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