Anya Prince - Colloquium Speaker

Associate Professor of Law and Member of the University of Iowa Genetics Cluster, College of Law, University of Iowa
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 3:30pm
Colloquium Title: 
Should life insurers use an applicant’s genetic information?: Policy lessons from the UK, Australia, and Canada
Reception at 3:00 p.m. in 241 SH / Talk at 3:30 in 61 SH

Anya Prince


Insurer use of genetic information has long been debated in the US and around the world. Although federal law prohibits health insurers from underwriting on the basis of genetic information, it does not address use by life, long-term care, and disability insurers. The debate in this area continues highlighting tensions between social fairness concerns and the economic concerns of the insurance industry. The US, however, is not alone in its struggle to balance between business and social considerations. This study presents lessons from other countries that are considering or have adopted policies regulating life insurer use of genetic information. The study is comprised of four qualitative case studies in countries that have adopted or considered regulation. This presentation will report on initial qualitative results from semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in the United Kingdom (22), Australia (17), and Canada (19). Stakeholders include policy experts, government officials, genetic professionals, advocacy group members, and insurance representatives. The interviews highlight how different policy options have affected the fervor of the debate, fear of genetic discrimination, and the interpretation of usefulness of genetic test results to insurers. Analysis of the effectiveness of international policy allows us to draw potential lessons for US policy-makers. Stepping back and getting some critical distance from this entrenched debate through examination of the experiences abroad may provide insight into more nuanced policy options.