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Last updated: Apr 26, 2018

Genetics and insurance

Results of genetic testing may impact an individual’s ability to obtain personal insurance products (such as life insurance), or increase the premium paid. Under the current regulation known clinical and research genetic findings need to be disclosed to providers of life insurance [1].

Industry standards are regulated by the Financial Services Council. The latest Standard (2016) [1] around research studies states that companies should not ask applicants to provide genetic test results if solely used for the purpose of a medical research study conducted by an accredited university or medical research institution where;

  • Test results are not known by an applicant and will not be provided to the applicant or
  • Applicant has specifically requested not to receive the test results.

However, this does not apply to known research genetic findings.

Insurance implications may be a concern for some individuals considering participating in medical research and can be a reason for declining to participate [1]. Researchers need to ensure that the potential implications of research participation for obtaining personal insurance products in the future are clearly explained to participants [2].

[1] Newson A, Tiller J, Keogh L, Otlowski M and Lacaze P. (2017) Genetics and Insurance in Australia: Concerns around a Self-Regulated Industry. Public Health Genomics;20:247-256

[2] Financial Services Council (FSC) Standard No. 11 Genetic Testing Policy. https://www.fsc.org.au/resources/standards/11s-genetic-testing-policy-final.pdf

[3] Position Statement on Genetic Testing and Personal Insurance Products in Australia. (2018) Human Genetics Society of Australasia https://www.hgsa.org.au/documents/item/20