A recent study has found that the scale of the insurance gap between men and women in the UK is very wide, with women less likely to have cover in place and, even when they do, it is on average about a third as much as men.
The study found that women have different risks from men. These include risks associated with divorce or separation and motherhood. For example, in a divorce or separation, women may have lower earnings and fewer financial assets than men. They also potentially face a ‘motherhood and caring penalty’, where they put their careers on hold to be primary carers to their children and parents.
The results of the study have led the authors to suggest that the financial services industry needs to adapt the way it informs women about insurance so that the products it offers are actually suited to its audience.
For example, Zurich, which undertook the study, offers separation cover on joint life insurance policies. So, if there is a divorce or separation, either party can get the same level of cover on a single life basis without underwriting. Zurich has also added ‘complications in pregnancy’ as a payment condition on its new ‘select’ critical illness product.
As a spokeswoman for the insurer commented, these changes mean that the industry is beginning to recognise the unique risks faced by women, who make up 52 per cent of the population, and may for the first time be acting on them.