Business

Insurance industry to set guidelines to prevent 'genetic discrimination'

Kyodo

The country’s insurance industry will establish guidelines banning life and medical insurers from collecting or using personal genetic information for decisions regarding eligibility for coverage and premiums to prevent “genetic discrimination,” sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

The Life Insurance Association of Japan has said its member firms do not use genetic information to make decisions about coverage, but people with genetic diseases and private groups supporting them have voiced concerns about discrimination in the absence of laws prohibiting insurers from gaining such data.

The industry group will state in its guidelines that its member firms will continue the practice, according to the sources.

It will urge insurers not to use data from genetic testing even if people looking to purchase policies voluntarily offer their genetic data, they said.

In a 2017 government survey on the use of genetic information involving some 11,000 people, about 300 said they have experienced discriminatory treatment by insurance companies.