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AFCA warns against genetic testing discrimination

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The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has warned life insurers it will assess complaints against them based on how fairly they treat customers.

Media reports suggest consumers have been denied cover or are being asked to undergo genetic testing, including when seeking travel insurance. AFCA can resolve complaints when an insurer has discriminated against a consumer due to genetic test results.

It expects insurers to consider if prospective policyholders have taken measures to reduce their risks – such as undergoing mastectomies – when assessing applications.

“Since July 1, in many cases, life insurers are not able to ask you to undertake genetic testing,” Lead Ombudsman June Smith said.

“The value of the insurance product determines whether the company can request such testing.”