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ABI releases first Annual Report On Code On Genetic Testing And Insurance

The Association of British Insurers has released the first annual report on the Code on Genetic Testing and Insurance.

It provides a transparent overview of the compliance exercise carried out by the ABI to assess how the Code is operating, as well as an overview of the key developments in insurance over the last year.  It sits alongside the Government’s Annual Report which includes information on the genomics policy landscape.  

Director of Policy, Long Term Savings and Protection, Yvonne Braun said:

We are pleased to see that the Code on Genetic Testing and Insurance continues to work well. It gives customers peace of mind to know they will not be required to have a predictive or diagnostic genetic test which could affect their ability to access insurance cover. We have introduced an annual report to provide more transparency about how the Code works. Our first report also looks at how the fast-paced developments in genomic medicine might affect insurance in the future. Our sector will manage such impacts working in partnership with Government.”

The data shows that the Code, first introduced in 2001 in its original format, continues to work well. It provides a framework which offers reassurance that 100% of people can access protection insurance to the financial limits within the Code without needing to disclose a predictive genetic test result. In recent years, genomic medicine has seen fast paced developments and the Code is a commitment from the insurance industry to manage any need for future change to the use of genetic information with government.

The Code is a condition of ABI membership1 and means that insurers must not require or pressure customers to have a predictive or diagnostic genetic test, under any circumstances; or to ask for or take into account the result of a predictive genetic test when a customer is applying for insurance.2

The report sets out that:

  • In 2018, there were no complaints reported about the use of a genetic test results by an insurance company. Under the terms of the Code, insurers must report any complaints to the ABI and set out if and how a complaint is resolved.
  • The financial limits within the Code continue to cover the vast majority of policies bought, meaning only those buying the highest levels of insurance cover might have to disclose an adverse predictive genetic test result (and only then, if the medical condition is on the approved list and a test has been taken prior to application).
  • There has been an increase in the number of tests reported in 2018 to those in 2017, in line with the trend of increasing tests in recent years. This reflects the increasing number of genetic tests taking place in the UK. We note that the increasing trend is much clearer for diagnostic than predictive tests.


Notes to editors

1Several non-ABI members have also signed up to the conditions of the Code. These are listed on the ABI website alongside ABI members.

 2The only exception being if you are applying for life insurance over £500,000 and you have had a predictive genetic test for Huntington’s Disease. Only in this circumstance do you need to tell the insurance company the result of the test, if they ask.


Enquiries to:  

Sarah Aspinall     020 7216 7412         Mobile: 07725 245 297 

Malcolm Tarling    020 7216 7410         Mobile: 07776 147 667  

Laura Dawson       020 7216 7338         Mobile: 07725 245 838  


  1. The Association of British Insurers is the voice of the UK’s world leading insurance and long-term savings industry.  A productive, inclusive and thriving sector, we are an industry that provides peace of mind to households and businesses across the UK and powers the growth of local and regional economies by enabling trade, risk taking, investment and innovation. 
  2. Skype and Facetime are available for broadcast 
  3. More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, abi.org.uk






Last updated 10/06/2020