Genetic testing practices to change among life insurance companies

Insurers in Canada have stated that consumers will no longer be required to disclose their data when buying coverage.

New genetic testing practices are on their way to life insurance companies in Canada. Canadians applying for new coverage had previously been required to disclose the results of any DNA tests they’d had.

That regulation for consumers will be changing as of 2018 when buying policies for under $250,000.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) stated that the change will apply to most individual policies sold to consumers every year. The new genetic testing practices will go into effect on January 1, 2018. At the moment, approximately 85 percent of individual life insurance policies sold in Canada provide under $250,000 in coverage.

There had been growing concern about genetic testing practices by life insurance companies in the country.

genetic testing practices DNAThe DNA tests have been growing in their affordability and availability for Canadian consumers. As a result, Canadians are obtaining these tests much more commonly than ever before.

The life insurance industry does not require Canadians to obtain a DNA test when they apply for a new policy. However, during the application process, consumers are obliged to share any medical information they have about themselves. Genetic testing results are included in that medical information category.

According to Frank Swedlove, the CLHIA president, the industry is changing the regulations in response to concerns raised about the practice. He also pointed out that life insurance companies in Canada are currently opposed to the federal legislation currently before Parliament. That legislation would place limitations on the amount of information that can be obtained through DNA tests.

Instead, Swedlove stated that the life insurance industry has applied a voluntary restriction among its members. The restriction applies to the collection of DNA test results. It has to do with genetic testing practices for insurance coverage greater than 250,000. Swedlove stated that the step is important for managing financial risks faced by the industry. “Our goal is to continue to ensure that all Canadians can access insurance at fair and reasonable prices,” he said. He also pointed out that the country’s CLHIA member life insurance selling agents will be retrained in these processes.

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