Why might an insurer ask for my consent to view my medical record, and what can the insurance company ask my GP?

The majority of life, critical illness and income protection insurance is based upon the information obtained on the application form, without any referral to GPs. In some cases, insurance companies may seek your consent to obtain a medical report from your GP as part of your application. In these circumstances, the insurer needs certain information from your GP to assess your application properly so that they make an informed decision regarding accepting or declining the application and charging the correct premium.

In applications for life insurance, the insurer is only interested in the diagnosis, treatment, severity and prognosis of a condition that could reduce your life expectancy. For critical illness insurance, the insurer is generally only interested in information about any of the conditions covered, and other health factors that affect the likelihood of you developing the conditions covered. For income protection insurance, the insurer is concerned with medical conditions that cause long-term absence from work.

Your GP will be told not to include any predictive genetic test results in their report to the insurer. If it is included, it will be ignored by the insurer.

Your insurer will not ask your GP about your participation in research projects.

Your insurer may ask your GP about the medical history of your first degree relatives. However, this information will only include what you have disclosed to your GP as part of your own medical records, and will only be in relation to a specific set of conditions.