This commentary has been written by Robin Bligh, Immediate Past President of the Foundation. Read this in conjunction with the other two articles in this section on insurance.
Life insurance contracts are governed by the legal doctrine of ‘utmost good faith’. This means that all parties must make a full declaration of all material facts so the insurance contract accurately reflects the risk being taken.
Under this principle, people applying for life insurance, changing their policy or switching insurers must disclose whether they have had a genetic test and, if known, the results of that test.
Life insurers can not require you to take a genetic test. However, if you have HSP in your family and have a policy with a premium loading due to the family situation, a genetic test could show if you are negative. You could then go back to the insurer with that information and argue for the premium to be removed.
Once life cover is obtained, new information does not have to be declared to the insurer. For example, life insurance may be taken out by an 18 year old in a family with HSP. After the contract has been finalized, the results of any subsequent gene test remain confidential to the person and their doctor.
Any testing for your life insurance will not affect your health insurance premium because of the community rating of health insurance —everyone pays the same premium rather than being rated individually or even grouped by age or other factors.
People who have genetic testing to uncover a faulty gene can take steps with their doctor to better manage the disorder for themselves and current and future off-spring with this additional information.