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Genetic Testing and Insurance: A Level Playing Field is in the Interest of All Canadians

| Source: Canadian Institute of Actuaries

OTTAWA, July 14, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Jacques Tremblay, President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA), said today, "Sharing known results of relevant genetic testing is in the public interest."

Improvements in technology and genetic science, and possible legislative changes, have prompted the CIA to speak out on genetic testing and insurance.

The Institute commissioned research on the impact of insurers not having access to the results of prospective clients' genetic testing. Bob Howard, a past President of the CIA, conducted the research and said, "A ban on using genetic tests is a bad idea. It hurts the vast majority of Canadians. The research shows that term insurance premium rates could go up by 30% for males and 50% for females."

A CIA statement on genetic testing and insurance and Mr. Howard's research report were released today.

M. Tremblay said, "This is a very important issue for Canadians, the insurance industry, and governments. Actuaries will play an important role in determining whether and under what circumstances genetic testing will be used for insurance purposes, and in balancing the issues of privacy, equity, and risk classification as this technology develops.

"The CIA does not support mandatory genetic testing. That said, we do believe that if relevant test results are available, they must be shared with the insurer in order to preserve the integrity and proper functioning of the insurance mechanism, and ultimately to protect consumers against costly anti-selection."

M. Tremblay added, "The issue of genetic testing and sharing results with insurers is complex and continues to evolve. Actuaries are involved in many aspects of this matter and the Institute is pleased to offer the CIA statement and research report as fact-based and unbiased information to all interested parties.

"This is information that will help governments and business decision-makers understand the implications of their actions."

The Canadian Institute of Actuaries is the national organization and voice of the actuarial profession. The Institute is dedicated to serving the public through the provision, by the profession, of actuarial services and advice of the highest quality. In fact, the Institute holds the duty of the profession to the public above the needs of the profession and its members.

For further information or to set up an interview with an actuary, contact Marie-Eve Bourgault, CIA French editor, at 613-236-8196 ext. 135, or e-mail

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Marie-Eve Bourgault, CIA French editor, 
613-236-8196 ext. 135, or 
e-mail .