Gender differentials

Gender as a factor in the assessment of insurance risks.

When underwriting insurance policies, insurance companies base their premiums on a wide variety of factors that may affect the claims cost they observe among their customers. One factor is gender.

From 6 April 2008, the Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations specify certain conditions under which insurance companies are allowed to differentiate premiums based on gender. One condition is that the use of gender as a factor in the assessment of risk for individual policies is based on relevant and accurate statistical data. A second condition is that this data must be compiled, published and regularly updated in accordance with guidance issued by HM Treasury (Latest guidance, March 2008).

Data in respect of the following types of insurance can be found by clicking on the links below:

This data is supplied by the Continuous Mortality Investigation, which carries out research into mortality and morbidity experience on behalf of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. This includes people covered by long term insurance policies issued by life insurance companies in the United Kingdom.

These investigations cover all the main types of life assurance, annuitant, pensioner, critical illness and income protection insurance contracts offered by the market. The base data is supplied by life insurance companies covering a large proportion of the market. These companies receive their own results and aggregated results on a regular basis. In addition, some research findings are published and can be found on other pages of this website.

Data for some other types of insurance is available from the Association of British Insurers.

It is important to note that it is not possible to draw conclusions from the information in these bulletins about an individual consumer's premium or annuity rate. This is due to a number of reasons, including:

  • The data included in these bulletins is an industry average whereas insurance companies may reflect their own data in their pricing.
  • Insurance companies will take account of factors other than age and gender when calculating premiums. For example, these may include their expenses and investment returns.
  • Insurance companies will also take account of specific features of the policies they offer, such as guarantee periods and escalation.

Indeed the Treasury’s guidance states: "This data must demonstrate the case for differing treatment based on gender, but it is highly unlikely to present a direct correlation with the premiums charged or the benefits obtained in individual cases."

It is also important to note that premiums will depend on differentials by age throughout the term of the policy, not just the age at the start. If you wish to obtain more details on how the premium for a particular policy reflects gender differentials in the underlying data, please contact your insurance company.