Insurers Adopt Industry Code on Genetic Testing

By Andrew Rickard | September 26 2014 08:45AM

Members of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) have adopted a code governing the use of genetic testing.

The code formalizes the industry's long-standing policy of not requiring an individual to undergo genetic testing as part of a life or health insurance application, and also includes several other commitments.

CLHIA member insurers agree that genetic test results of any person other than the person to be insured will not be required, nor will they ask for genetic test results from applicants whose test results are part of a medical research project where the results are not shared with them or their physician. Insurers have also agreed to use a dispute resolution system to resolve complaints resulting from underwriting decisions involving genetic test results.

"Canada's life and health insurers recognize the importance of this issue and the impact it has on many Canadians, and that is why we are putting this Industry Code into place," says CLHIA president Frank Swedlove. "Our goal is to assist consumers while, at the same time, continue to ensure that all Canadians can access insurance at reasonable and fair prices."

Each year, CLHIA says it will require member insurers to certify that they are in compliance with the code.