Test-Achats and the use of gender in pension schemes


The recent judgment from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Test-Achats case has received significant press attention. Women woke up on 1st March to the news that their car insurance might be getting more expensive, but that the annuity they buy when they retire could now pay a bigger pension. For men, it was the other way round.

The UK pensions industry is still assessing the new Test-Achats judgment and whether it might impact on occupational pension schemes. This client alert provides some commentary on the judgment and a discussion of its possible application to occupational pension schemes.


A European Directive passed in 2004 required member states to put in place, by 21st December 2007, laws to combat sex discrimination "in access to and supply of goods and services". This included an obligation for member states to ensure that in "all new contracts concluded after 21st December 2007 at the latest, the use of sex as a factor in the calculation of premiums and benefits for the purposes of insurance and related financial services shall not result in differences in individuals' premiums and benefits".

However, the Directive contained an exception to this principle which allowed member states "to permit proportionate differences in individuals' premiums and benefits where the use of sex is a determining factor in the assessment of risk based on relevant and accurate actuarial and statistical data".

Please see full Alert below for further information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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