Legal Updates

Commercial Law – Insurance – Use Of Adverse Results Of Genetic Testing – Moratorium

The Association of British Insurers (“ABI”) has announced that following its review conducted in 2008, the moratorium which enables consumers to take out substantial amounts of insurance without having to disclose the adverse results of predictive genetic testing has been extended until 2014.

The announcement covers:

  • Life insurance policies that are worth up to the value of £500,000;
  • Critical illness insurance policies that are worth up to the value of £300,000; and
  • Income protection insurance policies that are worth up to the value of £30,000 a year.

Even when the insurance policies are valued above these amounts, insurers will not be able to use the results of adverse predictive genetic testing in assessing the consumer’s suitability for a particular policy unless the test has been specifically approved by the government.

In any event only about 3% of all insurance policies sold are above these thresholds. The Director General of ABI has stated on this issue:

"The moratorium on the use of predictive genetic test results works well for consumers. It means people can insure themselves and their families, even if they have had an adverse result from a predictive genetic test. The moratorium has proved effective since its introduction in 2001 and can now continue".

In order to ensure that the moratorium is continually suitable, reviews are scheduled to take place before its end, with the next review to be carried out in 2011.

Please contact us for more information at


© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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