The FSC has announced improvements to its mandatory standards around genetic testing and family history for its members.
The changes to Standard 11 – Genetic Testing Policy and Standard 16 – Family Medical History Policy are designed to ensure they remain relevant to consumers as scientific advances are made, the FSC said in a statement.
The standards have been revised in consultation with Associate Professor Kristine Barlow-Stewart, director of the Master of Genetic Counselling at the University of Sydney.
Speaking at the Life Insurance Conference in Sydney last week, FSC chief executive Sally Loane said the standards have been reviewed and updated to ensure consistency with current definitions and legislation that impact on the life insurance industry, privacy and pathology testing.
“Consumers rightly expect consistency between product providers and a high level of service,” Ms Loane said.
“Mandatory, industry-wide minimum standards aim to provide both.”
Standard 11 specifies standards relating to aims to facilitate an efficiently-functioning life insurance industry that remains sustainable in the long term, while also recognising the industry’s social responsibility to not hinder the ongoing advancement and adoption of new medical knowledge and technologies that could potentially improve individual and public health outcomes.
Ms Loane said Standard 11 recognises the sensitive nature of genetic test results and the potential impact on customers who receive results.
“Members are required to meet the highest standards in relation to the handling of genetic test results and genetic information within their life insurance operations,” she said.
In addition, Standard 16 specifies that insurers will not use an adverse underwriting assessment as a result of family medical history as a reason for asking an applicant to undergo genetic testing.
“There are ethical business principles and practices that need to be observed to deliver high standards of individual and collective conduct in the operation and management of a member’s life insurance business,” Ms Loane said.