The European Court of Justice has held that as from 21 December 2012, insurers may no longer charge men and women differently on the basis of scientific evidence that is statistically linked to their sex, effectively prohibiting the use of sex as a factor in the calculation of premiums and benefits for the purposes of insurance and related financial services throughout the European Union. This ruling marks a sharp turn away from the traditional view that insurers should be allowed to apply just about any risk assessment criterion, so long as it is sustained by the findings of actuarial science. The naïveté behind the assumption that insurers' recourse to statistical data and probabilistic analysis, given their scientific nature, would suffice to keep them out of harm's way was exposed. In this article, I look at the flaws of this assumption and question whether this judicial decision, whilst constituting a most welcome landmark in the pursuit of equality between men and women, has nonetheless gone too far by saying too little on the million dollar question of what separates admissible criteria of differentiation from inadmissible forms of discrimination.
- Sex discrimination