Ellipse switching to unisex rates in September
John Ritchie, group chief executive for Ellipse, said group policies were originally felt to be exempt from the terms of the directive, which is due to come in on 21 December this year,
However, it has since emerged that benefits attracting a P11D charge, such as employer-funded critical illness cover, will fall within the directive and others, such as flexible and voluntary benefits may do depending how courts interpret the directive.
Mr Ritchie said: “Advisers need to know the approach providers are taking sooner rather than later to enable them to give the appropriate advice to their clients.
“In the group market, quotes are valid for three months, so with the directive coming into force on 21st December, providers need to have set out and implemented their response by September.
“We have established our position now so that we can make the necessary system changes in good time and we want to share the information with advisers so that they know where they and their clients stand.”
He said Ellipse will still require information about members’ genders for both quotations and for servicing in-force policies as the directive specifically allows gender to be factored into the rating of group schemes.
Ritchie urged other providers to follow suit in announcing their own plans for implementing the gender directive quickly “Advisers and their clients need to have confidence that they are not going to fall foul of the directive. We hope that announcing our own approach will prompt other providers to do the same.”
Roy McLoughlin, IFA for London-based Master Adviser, said: “It is clear there is a plethora of unanswered questions for advisers.
“It is imperative that distributors work alongside life offices to find answers and manage realistic customer expectations. The timescales and potential underwriting delays should not be underestimated alongside the anticipated bottle neck insurers may face later in the year.”