Advisers publish good practice guidelines for gender ruling

Advisers seeking clarity from insurers

Advisers seeking clarity over how the European gender ruling will affect the sale of protection have put together a set of draft proposals for insurers to adhere to.

Financial services consultancy F&TRC has published a draft statement of best practice to ensure customers are treated fairly throughout the transition to gender neutral policies.

As of December 21 2012, providers will no longer be able to price insurance according to gender, following a ruling by the European Union last year.

F&TRC is proposing that providers should confirm their action plans to intermediaries at least six months before the change comes into force, state the date on which they propose to move to gender neutral pricing at the earliest opportunity, and ensure they have adequate staff resources in the run up to implementation, among other suggestions.

When it comes to adviser communication, the group said providers should dedicate an area on their extranets to a summary of how they will manage business volumes in the run up to December 21, and that portals should have a headline warning showing a countdown to the implementation date.

The draft statement is now being put out to the industry for wider consultation ahead of final guidance being published later this month. Advisers wishing to provide feedback should visit http://www.adviserforum.com/ to see the full draft and to register their views.

Ian McKenna, managing director of F&TRC, said: “The issues addressed by our Protection Forum are those raised by distributors. When we met last month it soon became clear that the key issue on their minds was making sure the impacts of the ECJ gender ruling are properly managed.

“We have built a draft list of requirements for insurers to consider and welcome any additional feedback from across the protection industry in the coming weeks.”

Michael Aldridge, sales director at London & Country Mortgages, said gender neutral pricing will make a significant difference to intermediaries’ prospects this year and next, bringing with it both potential risks and rewards.

He added: “To this end any support providers can offer to advisers will be very warmly received, both in terms of literature and clarity around the impact of gender neutral pricing on their processes and of course prices.

"This will not only help demystify things for advisers, it will assist them in engaging with their customer base both effectively and early enough to make a difference.”

Advisers that have worked on the project so far include Master Adviser, LifeSearch, London & Country, Direct Life & Pensions, Vita Financial, Sesame and Spicer Haart.

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