The equal treatment or Gender Directive of 2004 governs the use of gender-specific actuarial factors in the insurance industry and for related financial services. It stipulates that the use of gender as a factor may not lead to a difference in premiums or benefits for policies purchased after 21 December 2007. EU member states may, however, continue to allow proportional differences in premiums and benefits if gender is a determining factor in a risk assessment that is based on relevant and precise actuarial and statistical data.
In its ruling of 1 March 2011, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared this exception invalid. Local legal requirements had to be adjusted to take account of this change by 21 December 2012 at the latest. New policies since this date may only be issued based on the unisex rates. The ruling in general has no effect on pre-existing policies. This change affects all insurance products whose rates were calculated taking gender into account, i.e. primarily the personal insurance lines of business (life, health and casualty insurance).
All Vienna Insurance Group companies operating in member states of the European Union and the EEA have made adjustments to their rates and necessary administrative and distribution processes, while incurring the additional costs for personnel and technical resources required to do so. In life insurance alone, around 700 rates were converted to unisex premiums and implemented before the 21 December 2012 deadline.