Retired Senior Advisor, Insurance Operations, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
Life and health insurance has been identified by many observers as one area that could be affected materially by information emerging from research on the human genetic structure. The nature of some of these comments indicates, however, that considerable further dialogue is necessary to understand more fully the nature of such insurance and also the nature of genetic information before drawing any conclusions.
This paper will provide a brief overview of life and health insurance in Canada, will review certain aspects of the insurance process, particularly the use of risk assessment and risk classification techniques, and finally will comment on certain issues involving genetic information from the viewpoint of the insurance industry.
(Note that life and health insurance is sometimes referred to as “personal insurance” to distinguish it from “goods insurance” such as homeowners insurance, fire insurance, automobile insurance, general liability insurance, etc. Only life and health insurance coverages are addressed in this presentation.)
Life and health insurance provides individuals with protection against the serious financial consequences arising from events such as death, disability, or contracting a serious illness. Such protection is available under various programs, the most common being government programs (“public
Bartha Maria Knoppers (ed.). Populations and Genetics: Legal and Socio-Ethical Perspectives. © 2003 Koninklijke Brill NV. Printed in the Netherlands.