ACCC's interim decision maintains life insurance bar on genetic testing

12 December 2002

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted interim authorisation* to allow an agreement between life insurers which provides that they will not require applicants for life insurance to undergo genetic testing.

"Interim authorisation will allow life insurers to comply with the Investment and Financial Services Association's Genetic Testing Policy while the ACCC considers IFSA's application for re-authorisation of part of its Genetic Testing Policy**", ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

"Life insurers have been operating under authorised arrangements, similar to those in the new application, since November 2000.

"The ACCC recognises that, should interim authorisation not be granted now, it may lead to some disruption to the marketplace. The ACCC considers that maintenance of the status quo is preferable while the ACCC consults and considers the merits of the application. A decision to grant interim authorisation does not mean that the ACCC will necessarily grant final authorisation.

"For final authorisation to be granted the applicants are required to demonstrate that there is a public benefit arising from the arrangement sufficient to outweigh any anti-competitive detriment. Before it can grant authorisation, the Trade Practices Act 1974 requires that the ACCC test the applicant's public benefit claims through a transparent public consultation process. This process includes seeking submissions from interested parties, and requires the issue of a draft decision for public comment before the ACCC can issue a final decision".

Interested parties wishing to make a submission in relation to the proposed arrangement should address their submission to: The General Manager, Adjudication Branch, ACCC, PO Box 1199, Dickson ACT 2601 or adjudication@accc.gov.au.

Release number: 
MR 321/02
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