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Labour move on genetic tests sparks confusion

Insurance companies have been thrown into confusion by Labour&#39s pledge to introduce legislation enforcing a moratorium on genetic testing.

The move follows a declaration by the ABI of a twoyear moratorium on the use of genetic test results in underwriting life policies, ann-ounced earlier this month in response to the findings of a House of Commons select committee report into genetics and insurance.

But a question mark hangs over the moratorium following the Labour Party&#39s manifesto commitment to implement the recommendations of the Human Genetics Commission, which exc-eeds the scope of the ABI&#39s moratorium.

The HGC recommended a threshold of £500,000 rather than the £300,000 announced by the ABI before the use of genetic tests could be taken into account. The move follows HGC chairwoman Hel-ena Kennedy stating her misgivings about the ability of the insurance industry to keep its own house in order.

Labour spokesman Kevin Craig says: “We intend to legislate in the next Parliament in accordance with the recommendations of the select committee and HGC, which give ample justification for the move.”

ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling says: “The moratorium we have announced does not have a time limit. This is to open it up for rational argument and so that we can try and reach agreement with the Government and the HGC.

“The ABI code will shortly be revised to include the moratorium and we have commissioned research into the issue which will be published later this summer.”

Skandia senior marketing manager Lynda Cox says: “There is a confused message coming across. The position needs to be clarified to give confidence to advisers and providers.”

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