The ECJ´s decision regarding gender equality

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has identified, in a recent verdict, the consideration of the gender of an insured person when calculating the risk factor in insurance contracts as discriminatory. In reaction to a query of a Belgian court, the ECJ decided on the application of unisex premiums and benefits with effect from 21 December 2012. The decision is legally based on the Directive 2004/113/EC, which prohibits all discrimination, based on sex in the access to and supply of goods and services. Until now, insurance companies have been able to make use of an exception clause when calculating the risk factor. Differences in life expectancies and risk behaviour between men and women have caused the insurance companies to base some of their services on gender. The ECJ however ruled that these exceptions are contradictory to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. While many celebrate the court’s decision as a victory for gender equality, insurance companies caution against the legal act and predict a general rise of insurance costs.

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