A European Union directive aimed at eliminating gender discrimination in determining insurance rates is likely to apply in the United Kingdom, although British officials had stated that the country was not bound by the impending rule, according to a report in ifaonline.co.uk. The directive comes into effect in December, and would require that all financial products, including insurance, be priced equally for men and women.

The measure is controversial because the difference between men and women’s longevity and other behavioral risks are not discriminatory but reflect actuarial realities, the directive’s detractors insist. Furthermore, insurance rates are not going to get more favorable for anyone. A report on BBC News stated that annuity premiums for women will go down by only 2%, while they will go up for men 3%.

While the current difference in rates between men and women is relatively small with life annuities, around 5%, the discrepancy in rates is even higher in other products. For example, it can top 30% in health and life insurance, according to the Winterthur Group, a Swiss-based life insurance subsidiary of the Credit Suisse Group.

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