23 April 2000 No embargo
ACTUARY CONDEMNS GOVERNMENTS LENIENT APPROACH ON INSURERS AND GENETIC TESTING
Following recent reports that many insurance companies are failing to give practical effect to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) Code of Practice on genetic testing, an actuary has argued that a much firmer approach from the Department of Health is required.
Guy Thomas, principal of Varsity Actuarial Limited a consulting and investment firm said:
"Recent reports suggest that many insurance companies cannot be trusted to give practical effect to even the weak code of practice suggested by their trade association. Many people are concerned about insurers use of genetic tests and these concerns may be well founded.
The legislative framework for genetic testing in insurance in the UK is already one of the most lenient in the world. Many European countries have sensible restrictions on the use of genetic testing by insurers, which recognise the profound social implications which unrestricted use of such testing could entail. The UK government, in contrast, appears to be planning to give insurers almost a free rein in the use and abuse of genetic tests.
The results of the recent Alzheimers Society survey suggest that the insurance industry cannot be trusted on this issue. The government is making a serious mistake."
Guy Thomas 01227 463214
Notes for editors