Australia: Life insurers embrace government consultation on genetic test use in insurance

| 30 Nov 2023

The life insurance sector in Australia has expressed strong support for the Federal Government's recent move to initiate a consultation paper aimed at gathering public opinion on the application of genetic test results in insurance policies.

The Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI), a prominent body in the industry, has emphasised the role of genetic testing in enabling Australians to make proactive decisions about their health and future. 

“Genetic testing can help empower Australians to manage potential health risks in a preventive and personalised way,” said CALI CEO Christine Cupitt. 

“Our industry certainly doesn’t want to dissuade people from taking genetic tests or participating in scientific research that gives them more information about their overall health,” she added. 

Companies like Genetic Technologies Limited (ASX:GTG, NASDAQ:GENE, OTC:GNTLF) now offer in-depth genetic health screening capable of detecting risk factors and predispositions toward illness or disease that can then be actively managed and detected early. 

The use of such data in insurance assessments can be controversial, due to the possibility of discrimination and punitive insurance rates or premiums.

CALI says it advocates for improvements in genetic testing that align with the interests of Australian consumers and the broader community. 

The organisation concurs with the Federal Government on the need to regulate the use of genetic test results in the underwriting process of life insurance. 

The regulation would aim to adapt to advancements in genetic science and healthcare while considering the impact on life insurance's accessibility and affordability. 

“We want to deliver the protection and certainty Australians need on their best and worst days,” Ms Cupitt said. 

“It’s critical that regulation meets community expectations while also managing the risks and costs of life insurance fairly for everyone insured,” she said, reported Proactive Investors.