The Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI) has welcomed the federal government's announcement of a consultation paper on insurers' use of genetic test results.
CALI said genetic testing plays a key role in helping people make informed choices and giving them peace of mind.
“Genetic testing can help empower Australians to manage potential health risks in a preventative 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.”
CALI agreed that the federal government should regulate life insurers' use of genetic test results in the underwriting process. Moreover, regulation must help the government keep up with advances in genetic science and healthcare while considering any impacts on the accessibility and affordability of life insurance.
“We want to deliver the protection and certainty Australians need on their best and worst days,” Cupitt said. “It's critical that regulation meets community expectations while also managing the risks and costs of life insurance fairly for everyone insured.”
In 2019, Australian life insurers helped develop a Genetic Testing Moratorium, which is still included in the Australian Life Insurance Code of Practice. The code outlines the limits on how insurers use genetic test results.
Where life insurers are permitted to take genetic tests into account under new legislation, they are one of several factors considered in underwriting a life insurance policy.
“We want to stand alongside Australians as they face life's biggest decisions and challenges, whether it's having a baby, taking out a mortgage, starting a business, or planning for retirement,” Cupitt said. “A sustainable life insurance industry is critical to ensuring Australians can live in a healthy, confident, and secure way over their lifetime.”
The federal government will receive feedback on the consultation paper until the end of January.