The EU is heading for defeat on a proposal that could have forced insurers to exclude gender in risk profiling.

The EU's final decision on the matter has been held over until December. But insurers were confident that they would retain the right to use gender as a risk factor after an EU Council of Ministers meeting on Monday.

An ABI spokesman said: "The UK Government has continued to support our views on the benefits of gender pricing for our customers and hope that the issue will be settled in December."

The decision to grant individual governments the right to offer exemptions to gender equality legislation was postponed when Germany abstained in a vote on the issue.

All other nations in the 25-member community backed the draft law.