The Association of British Insurers is today publishing an agreement with the Government to hold a f...
The Association of British Insurers is today publishing an agreement with the Government to hold a five-year moratorium on the use of DNA genetic test results by insurers allowing consumers to obtain all but the highest value protection products without having to disclose any genetic test results.
Consumers will be able to obtain up to £500,000 of life insurance, and £300,000 of critical illness, income protection and long term care insurance, however, the period of the moratorium will now be used, says the ABI, to try and "develop a lasting consensus between different stakeholders and Government about what should replace it."
Announcing the agreement, Mary Francis, Director General of the ABI, says:
"This agreement will enable us to have a rational and informed discussion about the best way forward for the UK on genetics and insurance.
"Insurers, the public and Parliament have many understandable concerns about the use of genetic test results. There is a complex web of issues to consider, including the principle that insurance companies should have access to the same information as applicants.
"This technology is still in its relative infancy. But we need to make sure that there is a widely understood and accepted consensus in support of future policy. The ABI is committed to playing a full and constructive role. We now have the breathing space to get this policy right and achieve agreement on the best way forward."
The moratorium - which previously only applied to mortgage-linked life insurance policies worth up to £100,000 - will come into play on November 1, however, a review of the financial limits will be conducted after three years.
The only test so far approved for life policies is for Huntington's disease, however, there were previously concerns from consumer associations that using genetic results would rapidly increase insurance premiums and make it difficult to obtain life insurance products without a genetic test.
Responding to the moratorium Lord Hunt, chairman of the AIFA says:
"I welcome this agreement with the ABI. Understandably, there are public concerns around genetic testing and we have responded positively to them. The moratorium will ensure that genetics and insurance issues can be progressed in an environment of mutual respect between all the main interests and I look forward to a continuing dialogue with the ABI and all those who have an interest in this subject."
The ABI is also publishing today its first Compliance Report and analysis of the use of genetic test results by ABI member companies in 1999 and 2000.
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