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Genetics and Insurance

Volume 547: debated on Tuesday 26 June 2012

I am announcing the outcome of a planned review of the concordat and moratorium on genetics and insurance. The concordat is an agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) which provides for insurers’ use of predictive genetic test results and includes a voluntary code restricting the use of predictive genetic tests in life, critical illness and income protection insurance up to specified financial limits.

The concordat now includes clearer compliance and monitoring arrangements and outlines arrangements for assessing new applications by insurers to use the results of predictive genetic tests.

The Government have heard concerns from consumers regarding the potential uncertainty for those who decide to take a predictive genetic test now—under the moratorium—but who may only wish to take out insurance at a later date and who fear they may be caught out if the moratorium should suddenly end.

Therefore, to reassure consumers, the Government and the ABI have agreed to strengthen the agreement. The moratorium has already been extended until November 2017. The next planned review of the concordat will be in 2014. As a result of the current review, the ABI will not end the agreement outside of the review process or before the end of the moratorium. In addition, future reviews will be at least three years before any extended end date of the moratorium. Consumers can therefore be reassured that they will always have at least three years to prepare.

With the above provisions in place, the Government believe that the concordat provides a proportionate and effective framework which will help to maintain consumer confidence in the agreement while also ensuring that insurers have access to relevant information. It is an effective and successful example of industry self-regulation.

A copy of the “Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance” has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.