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The proposal focuses specifically on the access to and supply of goods and services as, for example, the use of sex as a factor in the calculation of premiums and benefits for insurance and related financial services would be prohibited.

The proposed Directive would explicitly tackle the issues of premiums and benefits in the insurance sector. In a majority of cases, women pay higher premiums for pension and annuities or the plan pay out less per year. Men pay higher premiums for life insurance. This is justified by the industry on the grounds that women live longer.

The Commission accepts that the working methods of the insurance industry would have to change to take the principle of equal treatment into account, which is why the proposal foresees a transitional period of six years to allow adaptation within the industry.

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