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&#39Using genetic test results will create Catch-22 situation&#39

Life offices will be shooting themselves in the foot if they start using the results of genetic tests, say consumer and health groups.

The National Consumer Council and the Alzheimers Society say it is against the long-term interests of life offices to use the results of genetic tests because it will create a Catch 22-situation.

Their claims follow last week&#39s announcement by the Government allowing life offices to ask people tested for the genetic Huntingdon&#39s disease to reveal their results before insuring them.

A Government-appointed committee is considering six other tests that may be approved in the future.

The NCC and AS say those testing positive for genetic disorders are likely to be those needing insurance the most but will find it difficult to get coverage, whereas those testing negative will have no problems getting insured but are less likely to need insurance.

But providers and the ABI reject this argument, saying insurance is about more than sick people protecting themselves, with people takingout policies for a variety of reasons.

Alzheimers Society chief executive Harry Cayton says: “If insurance companies want to design new products, they will not work because the people that need coverage won&#39t get it and people that can get coverage won&#39t need it.”

National Consumer Council director Anna Bradley says: “The industry is shooting itself in the foot. It relies on pooling the risk. If people are going to have no risk, they are less likely to take out insurance.”

NU head of media relations Ian Frater says: “People take out life insurance for a vast number of reasons, not just because they are worried about getting ill.”

ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling says: “I don&#39t think that argument is valid. It&#39s not just ill people who need life insurance. It&#39s taken out by all people to protect against unforeseen health problems.”

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