UK insurance sector fears EU gender directive

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UK insurance sector fears EU gender directive

LONDON, UK - The UK government looks set to endorse a controversial gender directive from the European Commission that will make it illegal for insurance companies to take into account differences in sex when setting insurance premiums, according to This is London.

Despite assurances that ministers would fight against the introduction of such laws, insurers fear the government will capitulate in order to retain Britain's opt-out from the 48-hour working week.

Insurance companies and pension funds have hit out at the draft directive, claiming it could force women to pay higher car insurance, in defiance of statistical evidence which shows women are less likely to be involved in a car accident than men.

Men are also set to lose out on pension funds, whose lifespan is on average five years shorter than women's, with annual income from a £100,000 retirement annuity likely to shrink by an average of £221 to £7,178.

The outspoken proponent of the initiative, Europe's social affairs commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, dismissed opposition from the insurance sector as "Cassandra cries", claiming that the practice of charging and paying different rates for men and women was "abhorrent".

A spokesperson for the Department of Trade and Industry commented: "We recognise the concerns raised by insurers and are talking with them and others to achieve an outcome in the best interests of the UK."

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