There are some rules we adhere to and support – to the letter.
ABI Genetics Code of Practice
We adhere to the ABI Genetics Code of Practice and the moratorium on the use of predictive genetic test results. Genetic testing is at a relatively early stage and very few tests have accurate prognostic value. Even with advances, predictive testing will be of limited value for diseases that have multiple factors. Currently, conventional underwriting information, including family and medical history, has much more value.
The Code is a comprehensive document that sets out how an insurer must deal with genetics and genetics related disclosures.
Two of the main requirements are as follows:
- Insurers do not request or even suggest, directly or indirectly, that a genetic test be carried out
- Insurers only use the results of predictive genetic tests deemed relevant and reliable.
The only test currently approved is for Huntington’s Disease for life insurance, and use of this test is further restricted by the moratorium.
The ABI and member offices have agreed with stakeholders to be bound by a moratorium that runs until 2019. Insurers must not ask for, or use, the results of predictive genetic tests for life insurance applications up to £500,000, critical illness up to £300,000 and Income Protection up to £30,000 a year. However, insurers are allowed to use negative genetic test results where it benefits the customer.
The full version of the Moratorium can be found here.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination in the workplace and in other areas, such as in the provision of goods, facilities or services.
It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It sets out the different ways in which it's unlawful to treat someone.
One of the areas covered by the Act is that it is unlawful to discriminate against disabled people.
The legal definition of a disabled person is anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
What is the impact at the point of sale?
You must not discourage anyone you think may be ‘disabled’ from applying for cover, whether it is a new application or a variation to an existing plan.
What is the impact on underwriting?
The Act has not changed the way we underwrite. Each customer whether disabled as defined by the Act or not, receives individual consideration and we will make an underwriting decision after considering all relevant facts. We only give non-standard terms where it is reasonable to do so and we can support the decision with information that is relevant to the assessment of the risk from a source upon which is reasonable to rely.
The full version of the Act can be found here.
Access to Medical Reports
The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 or the Access to Personal Files and Medical Reports (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 is the legislation that cover how an insurer can request information from a health professional. It also details the rights of the patient to review the information before it's returned to us.