Researching your ancestry? Genetic testing, life insurance and discrimination

Adam Hamilton, Tania Leiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Insurers are increasingly moving towards business models that adjust premiums
for life insurance in light of a more detailed assessment of future risk, including using genetic test results. Applicants for life insurance should be aware of the potential disclosure requirements of genetic test results. Where those results suggest an individual’s genetic ‘makeup’ indicates an increased predisposition to developing a particular disease, such as breast cancer or diabetes, insurers may increase premiums or even refuse life insurance cover. Insurers seek this granular genetic data on the basis that it is a more reliable predictor of future risk than broad assumptions about an individual based on their lifestyle choices. However, this ‘differential treatment of asymptomatic
individuals or their relatives on the basis of their actual or presumed genetic
characteristics’ effectively amounts to genetic discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-27
Number of pages3
JournalThe Bulletin SA (Law Society of South Australia)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2020


  • life insurance
  • Ancestry
  • Genetic testing
  • genetic data


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