FSC updates on genetic testing

The Financial Services Council has announced changes to mandatory genetic testing standards and the rules around family history for FSC members. 

With scientific advances occurring more frequently than ever, particularly in genetics, it is becoming more and more important that the insurance industry keep up and continue to operate under high standards. 

The changes apply to the Standard 11 – Genetic Testing Policy and Standard 16 – Family Medical History Policy, and have been developed in conjunction with university Professor Kristine Barlow-Stewart, who is director of the Master of Genetic Counselling program at the University of Sydney. 

One of the main features of the changes is that the insurance industry should not be hindering the improvement of individual and public health outcomes by hindering the adoption of new medical knowledge and technologies à la genetic testing.

Genetic testing has become a delicate topic amongst insurers and their policyholders, with some information being prized, and policyholders potentially being penalised for 'maybes' in their genes. Fear of being penalised may therefore prevent someone from getting a test that could - possibly - help them. 

Insurers are not to use an adverse underwriting assessment as a result of family medical history to request genetic testing.