It is a small bomb just falling on the European insurance sector. The Court of justice of the European Union has indicated, yesterday, that now, he can more be insurance rates differentiated between men and women. "Taking account of the sex of the insured as a factor of risk in insurance contracts is discrimination," argued the Court. Effective December 21, 2012, "Unisex premiums and benefits rule apply.
Until then, the insurers had a derogation from directive of 2004 which "prohibits any discrimination based on sex in access to goods and services and the provision of goods and services. Member States could derogate "when sex is a factor in determining in the evaluation of risks and that such differences may be based on actuarial and statistical data relevant and accurate". What is auto - young drivers insurance pay in general cheaper than young drivers - or life insurance, tables of mortality are different for men and women.
Test-purchasing, a Belgian association of consumers without profit, and two individuals brought an action to set aside this derogation system, via an action for annulment of the Belgian law transposing the directive of 2004. And it is in this action the Belgian Court asked the European Court of justice "to assess the validity of exemption with standards of greater interest, namely the principle of equality between men and women enshrined in the law of the Union".
In its judgment, the Court notes including the risk that "this unequal treatment applied without limitation in time, in the absence, in the directive, of a provision on the duration of these differences. To avoid that the derogation be "indefinitely permitted", the Court had declared invalid with effect from December 21, 2012.
"That the decision of the Court rebutted that sex can be a legitimate factor in pricing, and that this same pricing is based on a fair assessment of the risk process is bad news for consumers of insurance", responded Michaela Koller, Director General of the European Insurance Committee. The implication is simple: are the insured who will pay the price for the decision and probably rates increase.
For the law firm Norton Rose, this decision, which attests to the developments on the market. "The insurers have interest to revisit many of their insurance policies, to ensure that they have no discrimination based on sex," advises M Franck Poindessault. Not to mention that "the prohibition could if e étendr to other personal traits of the insured which insurers can currently take into account in their pricing," says Norton Rose. Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, invited yesterday all insurers to follow the "good example" of cases Test purchases, and insured she would soon meet the profession to discuss the implications of this judgment.
A draft directive includes the prohibition of any discrimination based on religion, the State of health, age or sexual orientation, subject, for the moment, certain derogations insurance. But the "Test-purchasing authorities" could lead to a strict reading. In France, the subject is echo the concerns of the dump, which has clearly decided to address equality of access to insurance ("Les Echos" from December 24, 2010). Backdrop, it is the principle item segmentation insurance key pointing the finger.