"It suggests that women are at a far greater risk of being under-insured than men."
New data from IRESS shows a significant difference in protection sums assured between men and women.
The protection sales data shows that the male sums assured for critical illness, averaged over a three-year period, are 90% higher than female sums assured. The average male sum was £10,985 compared to £5,790 for women.
For life and critical illness cover the difference is 50% and for life cover only, it’s 53%.
Averaged across three H1 periods, women accounted for 46% of protection sales so there is no significant gender difference in the actual number of men and women seeking protection cover.
The gender pay gap (currently around 17.9% according to ONS data), and other societal factors go some way to explaining the reasons behind the gender differences in protection sums assured, however IRESS says the "extent of the difference is surprising".
Dave Miller, executive general manager at IRESS, said: “It is generally accepted that men have more protection cover than women. This is for a whole range of reasons including the fact that men, on average, are paid more than women, and we tend to find that the main bread-winner in a couple tends to have more life cover. That’s to be expected.
“However, while we’re well aware of these differences in gender protection needs, I was still taken aback by the size of the difference revealed through our data. For me, it suggests that women are at a far greater risk of being under-insured than men.”