Simple gender specific protection is future

Nia Williams

November 15, 2011

Providers speaking at Sesame’s London symposium yesterday said regulation from Europe that will prevent price discrimination between men and women from 2013 will force providers to build products that allow men or women to “opt out” of certain criteria to keep their premiums down.

Richard Verdin, protection director at Aviva, said: “I think we’ll see more innovation around building products for specific genders. Aviva is in the process of building our next generation products and we hope to launch in November next year.”

Verdin gave the example of a man with a history of breast cancer in the family not wishing to pay a higher premium by disclosing that fact. He said in that scenario the client would rather have a product that allowed him to decline that option and keep the premium lower.

Verdin also said he thought critical illness cover would become simpler in future.

“Where else can you take critical illness?” he questioned. “All you’re seeing now is list extensions of illnesses that would actually already have been covered.

“I think we’ve innovated that one and if anything innovation is likely to make that product more simple, particularly as we see gender neutral pricing coming into play.”

Meanwhile Iain Clark, managing director of protection at LV=, said the industry should be aiming to make products simpler.

He said: “Over the next 18 months we’re looking at ways of getting different products into the market to make it easier and simpler for people to buy protection.”

And he added: “As an industry we should be making it easier for those people to buy the second, third and fourth product as well. We know a lot of information about that customer already so we should be able to do something simpler and easier for them. I do believe at the moment we are overcomplicating it for them.”

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