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Australia: FSC releases policy on genetic testing and the situation in New Zealand

The Australian FSC has plans to implement a binding standard that ensures all life insurer members do not require clients to disclose the results of their genetic test. The introduction of this standard means that clients can potentially receive up to A$500,000 of life cover without the need of disclosing test results. Furthermore, clients will not be required to have genetic tests carried out when initially applying for insurance.

This new standard applies to clients applying for a total sum insured that is less than A$500,000, those who choose to apply for more than A$500,000 for life or total and permanent disability cover, A$200,000 for trauma cover or A$4000 a month of income protection cover will need to provide genetic test results.

Richard Klipin, chief executive of FSC New Zealand, has stated that the FSC is dedicated to specific issues within the insurance industry. Unaware of the future magnitude of genetic testing in the New Zealand market, Klipin has stated that the FSC will discuss the effects.

Although no widespread screening services use genetic tests in New Zealand at present, it is a feature in Australia. That has pushed the need for the Australian insurance sector to develop a policy. It seems obvious that as the value of these screening services becomes more widely recognised, they will be introduced here too. Within a few years that means underwriters will routinely receive applications from people that have had genetic tests. Under current underwriting practices they will need to be disclosed and the results will be used in assessments. 



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