IRESS reveals large “gender protection gap”

The divide in average protection sales between men and women reveals a significant gender gap in cover, according to data collected by IRESS.
The average sum assured over a three-year period for critical illness cover for men was £10,985.88, while for women, £5,790.17.
Looking at life and critical illness cover, men were assured on average, £104,709.99, while for women this figure was £69,916.08.
Life cover outlined a similar story, men were assured £130,979.86, and women, £85,521.66.
Despite this contrast, the number of men and women seeking protection sales was relatively even at 54 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.
The firm outlines that the average sum assured for life cover in 2019 for men is £129,033.53, and £103,758.69 for women.
IRESS executive general manager Dave Miller says: “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 breadwinner in a couple tends to have more life cover. That is to be expected.
“However, while we are 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.”
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