Life insurance and gene testing

Criticism of new insurance industry proposal


Lobbyists for Australian life insurers have proposed an AUD$500,000 (USD$360,000) cap on policies for individuals who disclose adverse genetic testing results.


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Duty of Disclosure

Life insurers in Australia cannot require customers to take genetic tests, but can ask about testing and base coverage or rate decisions on disclosed adverse results. This, it says, has led to concerns that some people would forgo testing because it could affect their insurance coverage and to ask Parliament to call on the Financial Services Council (FSC) to make changes.


Harsh Limits Proposed

An article in The Australian newspaper notes that MPs instructed the FSC to model its moratorium on that of the UK, where there’s a £500,000 (USD$650,000) limit for policyholders who have tested positive for Huntington’s disease. Instead, it says FSC’s proposal is “far harsher.” Under this proposal, customers seeking coverage below AUD$500,000 for death and total and permanent disability insurance, AUD$200,000 for trauma, and AUD$4,000 a month for income won’t be asked about their genetic testing results.


No Consultation

The limits, the Australian says, are not disease specific and it adds that the FSC did not consult with Treasury, the Health ­Department, or genetics experts before announcing its proposal. An FSC spokesperson tells that the limits are similar to those of Germany and Switzerland and higher than ones in the Netherlands and Sweden.


SOURCE:  genomeweb Nov 5, 2018

Cap Proposed

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