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Policy Statement

Genetics and Insurance in Australia: Concerns around a Self-Regulated Industry

Newson A.J.a · Tiller J.b · Keogh L.A.c · Otlowski M.d · Lacaze P.b

Author affiliations

aSydney Health Ethics, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, bDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, and cCentre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, and dCentre for Law and Genetics, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Policy Statement

Received: July 01, 2017
Accepted: September 13, 2017
Published online: October 26, 2017
Issue release date: Published online first

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 1662-4246 (Print)
eISSN: 1662-8063 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/PHG

Abstract

Background: Regulating the use of genetic information in insurance is an issue of ongoing international debate. In Australia, providers of life and other mutually rated insurance products can request applicants to disclose all results from any genetic test. Insurers can then use this information to adjust premiums and make policy decisions. The Australian Financial Services Council (FSC; an industry body) developed and maintains the relevant industry standard, which was updated in late 2016. Aims/Objective: To review the 2016 FSC Standard in light of relevant research and determine the legitimacy of the Australian regulatory environment regarding use of genetic information by insurers. Results: We identified five concerns arising from the 2016 FSC Standard: (1) use of results obtained from research; (2) the requirement for an applicant to disclose whether they are “considering” a genetic test; (3) failure to account for genome sequencing and other technology developments; (4) limited evidence regarding adverse selection; and (5) the inappropriateness of industry self-regulation. Conclusion: Industry self-regulation of the use of genetic information by life insurers, combined with a lack of government oversight, is inappropriate and threatens to impede the progress of genomic medicine in Australia. At this critical time, Australia requires closer government oversight of the use of genetic information in insurance.

© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Policy Statement

Received: July 01, 2017
Accepted: September 13, 2017
Published online: October 26, 2017
Issue release date: Published online first

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 2

ISSN: 1662-4246 (Print)
eISSN: 1662-8063 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/PHG


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