The "Test-Achats" Act, consequences for the "second pillar"?

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Date:
14 Dec 2012

<p>Gender neutral premiums and benefits for the pensions of self-employed company managers and transfers to a welcome structure as from 21 December, 2012.</p>

Gender neutral premiums and benefits for the pensions of self-employed company managers and transfers to a welcome structure as from 21 December, 2012.

In early 2011, the European Court of Justice judged in the 'Test-Achats' Case that the insurance premiums and benefits linked to individual insurance products must be gender neutral as from 21 December 2012 (see our Newsflashes of 2 March 2011 and 5 January 2012 ). Thus, on 21 December 2012, the "Test-Achats" Act, adapting the "Gender" Act of 10 May 2007 subsequent to this case-law, will enter into force.

The "Test-Achats" Act mainly regulates the gender-based neutrality of insurance premiums and benefits regarding individual insurance products. With regard to insurance contracts concluded after 21 December 2012, unisex premiums and benefits will be mandatory.

These rules are in principle not applicable to supplementary social security regimes, as a commitment to complementary pension schemes subscribed by an employer for the benefit of his employees. With regard to a so-called "second pillar" pension scheme, gender-based mortality tables may still be used, for instance for the calculation of vested reserves and the conversion of lump sums into annuities (and vice versa). The principle of gender-based neutrality will nevertheless be applicable, as from 21 December 2012 to certain pension promises made in a professional context. The most important are:

  • the individual pension commitments (IPC's) for the benefit of self-employed company managers;
  • the transfers of reserves to a "welcome structure". The welcome structure often takes the form of an insurance contract to which a worker can transfer his reserves in case of disaffiliation (for instance, after the termination of his employment contract).

The tariffs and calculations of benefits of such commitments must from now on be gender neutral. In an IPC for self-employed company managers, gender may no longer be decisive for the reserves calculation. Gender-based neutrality is mandatory for IPC's for self-employed company managers and transfers to the welcome structure as from 21 December 2012.