7 December 2000
Government Actuarys Department
New Kings Beam House
22 Upper Ground
London SE1 9RJ.
Genetics and insurance
On 6 February this year I sent you details of the results of the 16th annual survey on British Social Attitudes British Survey regarding questions about genetic testing and insurance. This suggested that at least three quarters of the population was opposed to insurance companies having access to genetic test results. The Human Genetics Commission has recently commissioned another survey carried out by MORI using the People's Panel. This is a nationally representative panel of the UK general public aged 18+, established by the Cabinet Office.
The results insofar as they relate to insurance are as follows:
The first two figures above are clearly negligible and it seems to me quite likely that you would find more support for using the colour of a persons skin to determine their insurance premiums.
In the light of this continuing and overwhelming public disapproval I suggest that it would now be prudent for the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries to curtail its association with efforts to promote discrimination against people affected by genetic misfortune. For example you could consider the suggestions on your position statement in my detailed letter of 3 June. (If you did not receive this, please let me know.)
Cc Peter Clark, Angus Macdonald