Is the current genetics and insurance moratorium an effective long term regulatory solution for Australia?
Genetic discrimination in life insurance is a longstanding issue in Australia,1,2 and has been the subject of two government inquiries.3,4 The use of genetic test results in underwriting continues to be self‐regulated by the life insurance industry.5 In 2019, following Parliamentary Joint Committee recommendations,4 the industry voluntarily introduced a moratorium restricting the use of genetic test results in life insurance underwriting for polices worth up to AU$500 000. Although the moratorium is an important step, concerns remain around the financial limits, public awareness, lack of government oversight and compliance monitoring. The impact and effectiveness of the moratorium needs evaluation to inform the planned 2022 review. A new research project has been funded by the Australian Government’s Genomic Health Futures Mission to serve that important function.
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- 2. Otlowski M, Tiller J, Barlow‐Stewart K, Lacaze P. Genetic testing and insurance in Australia. Aust J Gen Pract 2019; 48: 96–99.
- 3. Australian Law Reform Commission. Essentially yours: the protection of human genetic information in Australia. Sydney: ALRC, 2003. http://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/report-96 (viewed June 2020).
- 4. Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services. Report: life insurance industry. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2018. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Corporations_and_Financial_Services/LifeInsurance/Report (viewed June 2020).
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- 6. Commonwealth Department of Health; Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council. National Health Genomics Policy Framework and Implementation Plan 2018–2021. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2017. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/national-health-genomics-policy-framework-2018-2021 (viewed July 2020).
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- 10. Financial Services Council. FSC Standard No. 11: Moratorium on Genetic Tests in Life Insurance. Sydney: FSC, 2019. https://www.fsc.org.au/resources-category/standard/1779-standard-11-moratorium-on-genetic-tests-in-life-insurance/file (viewed July 2020).
- 11. Millward M, Tiller J, Bogwitz M, et al. Impact of direct‐to-consumer genetic testing on Australian clinical genetics services. Eur J Med Genet 2020; 63: 103968.
- 12. HM Government and Association of British Insurers. Code on Genetic Testing and Insurance. UK: HM Government and ABI, 2018. https://www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/files/publications/public/genetics/code-on-genetic-testing-and-insurance-final.pdf (viewed July 2020).
- 13. Hon Greg Hunt MP. Over $33 million to boost genomics research into cancers and to combat children’s diseases [media release]. 6 May 2020. https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/over-33-million-to-boost-genomics-research-into-cancers-and-to-combat-childrens-diseases (viewed June 2020).
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