eCite Digital Repository

Genetics, insurance and professional practice: Survey of the Australasian clinical genetics workforce


Tiller, J and Keogh, L and Wake, S and Delatycki, M and Otlowski, M and Lacaze, P, Genetics, insurance and professional practice: Survey of the Australasian clinical genetics workforce, Frontiers in Public Health, 6 Article 333. ISSN 2296-2565 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Tiller, Keogh, Wake, Delatycki, Otlowski and Lacaze. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00333


In Australia and New Zealand, by contrast with much of the developed world, insurance companies can use genetic test results to refuse cover or increase premiums for mutually-rated insurance products, including life, income protection and disability insurance. Genetics professionals regularly discuss insurance implications with clients and report the issue as a clinical challenge, yet no studies have examined clinical practices or opinions. This study surveyed genetic counsellors and clinical geneticists from Australia and New Zealand to (i) investigate variability in professional practice across the Australasian clinical genetic workforce relating to the insurance implications of genetic testing, and (ii) ascertain views regarding current regulation of the issue. There was considerable variability in training and clinical policies, especially around the communication of insurance implications. Almost half of participants reported receiving no training on the insurance implications of genetic testing, and almost 40% were unsure whether they could adequately advise clients. A number of deficits in professional knowledge and understanding of the issue were identified. Widespread concerns regarding regulation of this area were reported, with < 10% of Australian participants considering current Australian regulations as adequate to protect clients from genetic discrimination. The findings from this study highlight scope for greater education, consistency and professional training on the issue of genetics and insurance in Australasia, and strong agreement about the need for regulatory reform.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:genetics, insurance, clinical genetics workforce, genetic discrimination, genetic counselling, regulation, Australia, life insurance
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health counselling
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Evaluation of health and support services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Otlowski, M (Professor Margaret Otlowski)
ID Code:129472
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2018-11-30
Last Modified:2019-01-04
Downloads:118 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page