FSC to suspend genetic tests for life insurance

31 October 2018

The life insurance industry will begin consulting on a new moratorium to stop using genetic test results as part of insurance applications, according to the Financial Services Council (FSC).

The moratorium, which will start on 1 July 2019 and remain in place until at least 30 June 2024, will enable every Australian to get up to $500,000 of life cover without having to disclose an adverse test result, FSC chief executive Sally Loane said.

Loane said the new moratorium was a great example of “inclusion at work” that will free Australians from the fear of taking a genetic test, as the result will no longer prevent anyone from taking out life insurance.

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“The moratorium will mean that people can take part in genetic research, or take a test individually, without fear that the result will stop them taking out life insurance,” she said.

“When in place, Australia will be the only country in the world outside the United Kingdom where a favourable genetic test result can be disclosed, but an adverse result doesn’t have to be.

“Given the pace of advances in genomics, a regularly reviewed moratorium is the right thing to do to support scientific research and genetic inclusion, while protecting the interest of the wider community who have life insurance.”

Loane said the life insurance industry will now work with a broad range of geneticists on how to implement the moratorium, including how to raise awareness for people considering taking a genetic test or taking part in genetic research.

The July 2019 start date will allow life insurers time to change their online and paper application questions, underwriting manuals, algorithms and systems, and complete required staff training.

“We fully believe that the moratorium will give Australians the reassurance they need and the flexibility to evolve as the science does,” Loane said.

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