16th December 2012


New market analysis carried out by insurer Caledonian Life says female smokers will see the largest premium increases under the new gender directive insurance rules coming into force on the 21st of December.

The EU Gender Directive states "the use of sex as a factor in the calculation of premiums and benefits for the purposes of insurance and related financial services shall not result in differences in individuals' premiums and benefits."

In a nutshell this means that premiums and benefits shouldn't differ for the same insurance policy, solely because one person getting the policy is male and another is female. In the past the relative differences in health and life expectancy of men and women has been a key factor in pricing policies Caledonian Life's Head of Sales and Marketing, Greg Dyer, indicated that the expected increase in female life cover rates wouldn't necessarily be reflected by a drop in rates for male life cover, according to industry insiders. There has been a suggestion that joint applications for life cover will see a more balanced pricing effect where increases in female pricing might be balanced by any savings on male cover.

"The good news is that underwriting and processing can often be completed within a few days. The bad news is that if people don't renew before the deadline our figures highlight the fact that smokers - particularly female smokers will fare the worst under this new EU led scenario as they already have a higher cost for life cover as they are smokers. And in light of the fact that recent reports have said 29pc of the Ireland's women smoke, we believe these individuals are going to suffer financially from 2013 onwards".

The new figures, which examine current Pre-Gender Directive Life cover pricing for males and females, smokers and non-smokers, suggest that smokers will see the highest increases in pricing after the Gender Directive comes into force on December 21st.