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Investigating genetic discrimination in the Australian life insurance sector: The use of genetic test results in underwriting, 1999-2003

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Otlowski, MFA and Stranger, MJA and Barlow-Stewart, K and Taylor, S and Treloar, S (2007) Investigating genetic discrimination in the Australian life insurance sector: The use of genetic test results in underwriting, 1999-2003. Journal of Law and Medicine, 14 (Feb-07). pp. 367-396. ISSN 1320-159X

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Abstract

A major component of the Genetic Discrimination Project (GDP), an
Australia-wide study to examine the advantages and disadvantages for
individuals of having genetic information and cases of alleged genetic
discrimination, is the analysis of insurers’ use of genetic test results. The
peak life insurance body, IFSA, had collected data through the Australian
Institute of Actuaries (AIA) for the period June 1999-May 2003 from life
insurance companies in Australia regarding their use of genetic test results in
insurance underwriting. The GDP negotiated with IFSA and the AIA for
access to this data for independent analysis. Applications from 288
individuals who had disclosed a genetic test result included products for
cover for death, trauma/crisis, income protection/disability and total and
permanent disablement. A total of 81% (234/288) contained usable data for
analysis. These cases involved the genetic conditions haemochromatosis
(71%), Huntington disease (12%) and breast/ovarian cancer (6%). In 49% of
cases, the genetic test result was described as the only influencing factor and
of these, 32% involved a “positive” genetic test result. Whilst underwriting in
most cases appeared to be reasonable, the article highlights several cases
involving disclosure of a positive predictive test result for breast/ovarian
cancer that required further investigation.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Law and Medicine
Publisher: Thomson Lawbook Co
Page Range: pp. 367-396
ISSN: 1320-159X
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2008 14:42
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:36
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