Why can’t insurers use genetic test results?

So why is this?

Well, we all have the Disability Act 2005 to thank.

This pretty sound piece of legislation prohibits the insurance companies from asking about genetic tests

When you apply for life insurance, you must disclose a certain amount of personal information, such as:

  • Family medical history
  • Personal medical history – Your insurer may ask for access to your medical records, but you have to provide your permission for this.
  • Your age
  • Height & weight
  • Whether you are a smoker or a drinker
  • Any prescription drugs you take
  • Your occupation – high-risk occupations can increase your premiums)
  • Any hazardous hobbies you take part in
  • Star sign
  • Pet’s name
  • Mother maiden name
  • How many photos contain traffic lights

And that’s just to name a few.

Insurers are pretty damn thorough when it comes to how they calculate your life insurance premium.

They’ll ask for as much information as they can get away with, but any genetic testing results you have are a no-fly zone. (www.lion.ie)

You won’t find a genetic testing question on a life insurance application, but you will find the following guidance:

However, it is important that you are aware that in accordance with the provisions of Part 4 of the Disability Act 2005
you should NOT disclose the result of any Genetic (DNA or RNA) test. Some medical conditions are genetic and can be
passed from generation to generation. Advances in medical science have made it possible in certain circumstances to take
a genetic test and to ascertain if a specific condition has been passed on. If you have had such a genetic test then you
should not disclose it.

And if you look hard enough, you will also spot this paragraph:

You must disclose if you are having treatment for, experiencing symptoms of, or having investigations (other than a genetic
test) for a genetic condition as well as disclosing all other conditions.

However, it is important that you are aware that in accordance with the provisions of Part 4 of the Disability Act 2005
you should NOT disclose the result of any Genetic (DNA or RNA) test. Some medical conditions are genetic and can be
passed from generation to generation. Advances in medical science have made it possible in certain circumstances to take
a genetic test and to ascertain if a specific condition has been passed on. If you have had such a genetic test then you
should not disclose it.

And if you look hard enough, you will also spot this paragraph:

You must disclose if you are having treatment for, experiencing symptoms of, or having investigations (other than a genetic
test) for a genetic condition as well as disclosing all other conditions.

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