The Italian regulator, ISVAP, has consulted on the regulations required to implement the EU directive on the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services (the Gender Directive 2004/113/EC). ISVAP has recently issued a consultation paper relating to the equal treatment between men and women in accessing insurance services.

The proposed regulation introduces the general principle of anti-discrimination between men and women, but also specifies when insurers can derogate from this general principle by establishing differences, for example in premium or services, where gender is a paramount factor in the evaluation of risk. Such differentiation between the sexes must be supported by actuarial and statistical information establishing grounds for any different treatment. It should also be noted that possible grounds for differing between the sexes excludes risks relating to pregnancy and maternity.

In particular insurers operating within the life and third party motor liability classes of business are required to ensure that an appointed actuary verifies the relevance and accuracy of the statistical data used for any difference in the treatment of men and women.

Where an insurer complies with the requirements of the regulation, the appointed actuary issues a declaration which should be attached to the technical reports needed to validate the tariffs. However, if the appointed actuary decides that, upon the determination of a new tariff, the difference between premiums charged to men and women is not supported by actuarial or statistical information, ISVAP must be informed immediately.

For non-life insurance (other than third party motor liability business) which does not require an appointed actuary, insurance companies that intend to differentiate on grounds of gender, must request that a registered actuary verify the data used and issue a declaration of consistency with the regulations.

Insurers who have charged different tariffs to men and women must send ISVAP a communication summarising the information relating to life and non-life premiums by the 31 July in each year. The communication must also be signed by a legal representative.

In order to inform policyholders about the types of tariff adopted in the policy, insurers must strengthen the transparency of the information delivered to policyholders when agreeing to the contract. This will require the insurer to highlight whether any aspects of the policy differentiates on the basis of the policyholder’s gender. Insurers are also required to indicate whether any of their policies differentiate on grounds of gender of their websites. For further information on how the Gender Directive applies in the UK see: Insurance Focus