Men in Ireland Value Themselves 64% More than Women

Sun Nov 14 2021

Women appear to be underprovided for financially when it comes to life insurance. New research reveals that men in Ireland insure themselves on average for 64% more Life Cover compared to  women, and 26% more for Specified Serious Illness Cover. This was the primary finding from leading protection specialist Royal London, following an analysis of life insurance policies over the 5-year period 2016 – 2020.

Karen Gallagher, Interim Head of Proposition at Royal London explained,

“These figures reveal significant discrepancies between the amount of financial protection men and women put in place for themselves, which can have significant ramifications for people down the line. Over the last five years, the amount of Life Cover taken out by men is almost two-thirds higher (64%), on average, than the amount of cover taken out by women. The average sum assured on a life insurance policy (Term Assurance) is €177,409 for women and €291,162 for men. One positive we could draw from the analysis was that while the gap has remained consistent at 57% for the past two years, the longer term trend is moving in the right direction considering it was almost 83% in 2017. However, the question remains – why are men more likely to insure their lives for a higher amount than women?”


Term Assurance

2016 2017  


2019 2020 Average
Female €181,082 €168,277 €185,834 €180,665 €171,185 €177,409
Male €291,739 €307,888 €304,656 €283,272 €268,255 €291,162
Average €236,411 €238,083 €245,245 €231,969 €219,720 €234 ,285

 Karen continued,

“The reasons for the disparity may mirror the wider societal issue of gender stereotypes and/or the gender pay gap. Considerably more women (98%) than men work in the home as a stay-at-home parent*, and our research suggests that a lot of people may undervalue this role in the home from a monetary perspective and therefore select a reduced level of insurance cover for themselves.

“Following our own research earlier this year, our calculations suggest that the value of the work a stay-at-home parent does is worth nearly €49,000 per year, whereas our consumer survey results indicate that people tend to value the role for a much lower amount (€29,000)**. This unpaid role is not cheap to replace should the worst happen to the stay-at-home parent, and it makes adequate coverage a necessity. This is particularly relevant if the primary earner wants to continue working as they would have additional expenses such as childcare or housekeeping to cover.”  

 Life Insurance

According to the Royal London data, the last five years have not seen a huge change in the average levels of Life Cover. Life Cover, also known as Term Assurance, pays out a lump sum amount if the person dies during the term of the policy. This lump sum amount can be used by family to help cover funeral costs, ongoing living expenses, settle debts or provide an inheritance.

Karen went on to comment,

“Over the last five years, the average sum that people insure themselves for has remained relatively stable, with the average amount for Term Assurance being €234,285. For a family with monthly bills of about €2,500, this amount would last approximately eight years. Another way of looking at it is that it would provide over €29,000 per annum for approximately eight years, which is below the average annual income of €40,283***.  While everyone’s personal circumstances are different, these figures suggest that the cover in place may not be enough to meet the financial needs of a family if it is intended to replace either the primary earner’s income or a stay-at home-parent’s role, particularly where there are very young dependents or if the family will have ongoing rental costs.”

 Specified Serious Illness Cover

According to the Royal London data, the average sum assured for Specified Serious Illness Cover# policies in the last five years was €69,645 – less than one-third of the average Life Cover policy.


Specified Serious Illness Cover

2016 2017  



2019 2020 Average
Female €58,923 €63,138 €65,743 €62,365 €57,771 €61,588
Male €74,286 €81,258 €84,429 €76,492 €72,040 €77,701
Average €66,605 €72,198 €75,086 €69,429 €64,906 €69,645

Karen commented,

“It’s positive that so many people are insured against serious illnesses and while €70,000 might seem like a lot, as with Life Cover, people should ask themselves how far will this amount really go when they factor in all the day-to-day costs of running a home, and possibly the costs of dependents, over a number of years. Our results show that women insure themselves by approximately 26% less

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