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Genetic Underwriting

  • Date Submitted: 11/09/2010 01:29 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.5 
  • Words: 2159
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Introduction
True is that genetic technology, as an emerging part of contemporary medicine practice, is advancing rapidly throughout the world especially during the recent years. Hence, the life insurance companies have developed a strong interest in the genetic test data and sought desperately the approval to use it in the field of underwriting for life insurance policies. Certain debates and various discussions have been brought forth subsequently, resulting in different points of views from distinctive levels of people. On one hand, a majority of insurance underwriters maintains that genetic test data, a kind of advanced scientific and trust-worthy achievement, does bring about considerable profit to the life insurance industry by means of providing detailed individual information especially the present and potential health condition of the applicants and therefore largely reduce the risk of financial loss. On the other hand, some of the policyholders cast doubt on the privacy and security of their personal genetic information in the process of internal controls. This paper will review the both sides in detail and propound several practical and reasonable restrictions in using the sensitive genetic data.

Reasons for the use of genetic data in underwriting
Essentially, there exists no huge difference between genetic test data and other numerous sensitive personal data which has been collected by the insurers for quite a long period of time. For one thing, in the past more than a century in Australia, family medical history, even including details of mental health, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, as one of the applicants’ absolute private data, played a significant role in assessing the potential risk of diseases and death by providing a rough indicator of genetic factors (Doble, A. et al, 2001, p.50).   Nowadays, as the technology of genetic test is developing at such a high pace, the up-to-date research result may refine the previous crude method...

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