The Association of British Insurers (ABI) responded to a report on genetics, by the House of Commons...
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) responded to a report on genetics, by the House of Commons' science and technology committee, and supported the principle that insurance companies should have access to the same information as applicants.
The ABI also highlighted what it sees as the advantage of self-regulation rather than legislation to deal with genetic issues.
Mary Francis, director general of the ABI, said: "We recognise how much public concern there is about the way genetic information is used - whether by government, the police, employers, insurers or others. Insurers have to act ethically and in the interests of all their policyholders. We cannot lightly ignore information that tells us that someone applying for insurance is at significantly higher risk than the majority of policyholders. Applicants are normally charged according to the risk they bring to the pool of people insured - for instance, because of their age or their medical history."
The ABI also pointed out that insurers' code of practice undertakes that insurers will never ask someone to take a genetic test in order to obtain insurance. Where insurers ask to see existing genetic test results, it is only in the few specific areas where medical experts have identified the tests as reliable and relevant for insurance purposes. This is a minimum standard. Some companies do not ask to see any genetic test results and customers can of course choose to buy a policy from them.
The ABI says it is fully committed to supporting the work of the Government's Genetics and Insurance Committee in deciding which genetic test results will continue to be available to insurers.
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