Today is a big day for the insurance industry. I say this not because it’s the Mayan date for the end of the world (after all, who’ll be left to make claims?), but because it’s the day on which the ECJ’s ruling on gender-neutral pricing comes into force.
I seem to remember that some while ago, when the ECJ made its ruling, there was a lot of angry expostulating (is there any other kind?) from insurance companies. In fact, at the time, when I wrote a blog in favour of it on the Protection Review website, I felt that little thrill you only get from extreme contrarianism: I seemed to be the only person in the country who thought it was a good thing.
Fairly quickly afterwards, though, insurance companies realised that it could represent a once-in-a-lifetime boost to margins (simply by levelling premiums up and annuity payouts down, rather than meeting in the middle). At this point the chorus of disapproval started to fade away, and today on G-day I can’t see any sign of regret or disagreement on behalf of anyone in the market – not even the ABI, which now seems entirely relaxed about the whole business.
Of course from my point of view, this is doubly disturbing. I liked being against gender pricing when it seemed like an interesting point of principle. Now that it’s just a commercial question of following the money, it feels like somehow I’ve ended up on the wrong side.