The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is due to rule on 1st March whether the use of gender as a risk factor to rate policies is compatible with European human rights on gender discrimination.
Annuity providers in the UK use a wide variety of factors when deciding on their Annuity rates, one of the most important of these is gender. Men have a shorter life expectancy than women and therefore tend to get higher Annuity rates.
If the ECJ rule that a person’s gender cannot be used as a factor in Annuity pricing it will be illegal to do so and the decision may need to be implemented immediately by Annuity providers here in the UK.
No one knows which way the ECJ will rule, however some Annuity providers have started to plan for a change. John Occleshaw, Managing Director of Individual Business at Canada Life says "We think there’s a strong possibility that the ECJ will say you can’t use gender to price annuities and it’s effective immediately".