CD Daykin
Government Actuary’s Department
New King’s Beam House
22 Upper Ground
London SE1 9RJ.

Dear Chris

Genetics and Insurance

I have recently obtained through the Institute Library a copy of the 16th annual survey on British Social Attitudes conducted by the National Centre for Social Research. This was widely reported in the press and I know of no similar survey of comparable standing or rigour. I quote from the results at page 165:

"Most people oppose the use of genetic tests by insurance companies. Three in four reject their use in deciding whether to accept people for life insurance policies. As many as half say that insurance companies definitely should not use them whilst a further quarter feel that they probably should not use them. The public is equally opposed to the use of tests to decide how much to charge for policies."

It seems very clear from this that the attempts which the Faculty & Institute are making to promote and legitimise the use of genetic tests in insurance are not wanted. My eccentric views are those of the majority.

The usual answer which actuaries give to this sort of obseervation is that "education" is required to promote acceptance of discrimination; indeed the UK Forum on Genetics and Insurance lists so-called "education" (propaganda) as one of its objectives. However there is some evidence from the United States that people are rather resistant to "education" on this subject: you can explain all you like, but people do not change their minds.

[3 further paragraphs edited here]

Yours sincerely

RG Thomas