An industry association has said that the Canadian court decision won’t have a significant affect.
An insurance industry association has released a statement with regards to the potential affect on life insurance of the very recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that has overturned the previous ban that had prohibited doctor-assisted suicide.
The association said that the impact that will occur on that industry will not be a significant one.
The ruling from the top Canadian court was made on Friday, in a unanimous decision to strike down a ban that had made it illegal for physicians to help patients to end their lives when they were mentally competent but whose conditions caused them suffering and were “irremediable”. The majority of life insurance policies contain an exclusion clause for suicide that removes the requirement of an insurer to have to pay benefits if the policyholder commits suicide within the first two years of having purchased the coverage. This clause was designed to stop people from buying coverage with the intent to kill themselves.
In the majority of cases, life insurance customers who would seek doctor-assisted suicide would not have new coverage.
According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, in most instances, if a patient has reached the point that he or she is seeking doctor-assisted suicide, any life coverage that he or she will have purchased will have been active for more than two years.
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These conditions are not the sort that will often simply pop up and bring on such a decision within a short period of time. Moreover, once the condition has been diagnosed, it would be more challenging – if not impossible – for a patient to be able to purchase this type of policy, as the insurer would see the risk as being too great.
A spokesperson for the association, Wendy Hope, has stated that until the Canadian government actually introduces legislation with regards to the specific practices that will be permitted for doctor-assisted suicide, it will refrain from deciding whether or not any changes will be required to the standard coverage that will be provided by life insurance policies in the country.