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Gender ruling may widen protection gap for women

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13/02/2012
Ageas has questioned whether the impending move to gender neutral pricing will result in women falling further behind men in their willingness to protect themselves.

According to research commissioned by the provider, men purchase greater levels of life cover, critical illness (CI) and income protection (IP) than women, and the situation could get worse.

The provider found 36% of men surveyed currently held life insurance with just 30% of women doing so.

These results were reciprocated in both CI (10% compared to 7%) and IP (5% vs 4%).

With the introduction of gender-based pricing being forced upon the industry by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in December, it is widely expected life insurance rates will rise by as much as 10% for women.

Although this may be offset by increases for men in IP prices, Ageas queried whether the industry could do anything about closing this gap before gender neutral pricing kicked in.

Overall men are more likely to hold insurance policies of any kind; only 12% do not have any compared to 14% of women.
Pet insurance is the only cover where more women (13%) hold a plan compared to men (10%).

Breaking the data down to a regional level, Scots were those most likely to own life insurance (43%) but perhaps surprisingly they were the least likely to own CI or IP.

Londoners were the most unlikely to buy life cover (26%).
However this trend was reversed when considering IP as London led the way (6%) alongside the East Midlands.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire and Humberside and the north east were the two regions boasting the highest ownership of CI (13% and 12% respectively).

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