Genetics

Direct-to-Consumer Gene Testing in an Australian Context (Gen Re)

We review the developments in genomic medicine and potential impacts on the life insurance industry’s right to underwrite.

Essential Genetics for Life Insurance Underwriters

The aims of this brochure are to provide the reader with a simple introduction to genes and genetic processes in humans and an insight as to how this rapidly developing field of science could impact on the insurance industry.

What Genetic Testing Means for Life Insurers

Genetic testing: it’s the crystal ball of health predictions. Are you more likely to develop cancer, Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease later in life? With a few strokes of a cotton swab, you can have that information. And life insurers argue they should have it, too.

Skinny Genes - Limitations of Direct Genetic Testing

Despite the poor predictive value of direct to consumer genetic tests in identifying the risk of common diseases, a possible impact on insurers of wider public access may be that privately obtained test results are used by some applicants to their benefit.

HHS, Genetic Information and LTCI

LifeHealthPro.com recently ran an article about new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) final regulations that will let insurers continue to use genetic information in underwriting long-term care insurance (LTCI), for now.

Gen Re Risk Insights: Dec 2012

The latest issue of Gen Re's Risk Insights includes the following articles:

- Dread Disease Survey 2004-2008: Causes of Claim
- Our DNA is Not Our Destiny
- Clips and Coils - Treating Vascular Brain Injury
- Insurance in a Mobile World
- Doctor's Notes

Lecture: Applications of Genetics in Diagnostics and Underwriting (SOA Annual Meeting)

Early adopters are already putting genetic information to use, both in the medical world and in the world of underwriting. How does genetic information compare to family history or medical test results in assessing risk? In this session, we will explore some of those instances. What genes are being sequenced and what diseases or conditions are being reported on? What does the DNA tell us? We will first explore some medical and diagnostic instances, followed by some instances and applications of using this information an actuarial risk classification setting. What would a genetically relevant actuarial table look like? How should this information be interpreted? What techniques and methods make sense?

Lecture: Ethical and Legal Questions Concerning The Use of Genetics in Life Underwriting (SOA Annual Meeting)

New technologies sometimes bring about new problems and concerns, which require new rules and regulations as recently demonstrated by GINA, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act in the health Insurance industry. Genetic information will soon become ubiquitous—cheap, easy to get, and informative. Should the long-standing principle of equal access to information for the purpose of life underwriting be abandoned because of the Orwellian fear of “Big Brother”? What are the myths versus the reality of genetic information? Should underwriters be banned from having access to it? And, if so, what are the industry implications of that?

Underwriting and Claims: From the Outside Looking In

This article is featured on page 26 of the September 2012 SOA Long Term Care Newsletter. Other articles in this issue include:

The Future of Genetic Testing is Now
Aspirin, Not Morphine
LTC Dashboard - Key Accessory to High-Octane Performance
Opinions and a Conversation on LTC Financing
Independent Providers: A Long-Term Care Insurance Conundrum
AGGIR, the Work of Grids
Thoughts of a Landscaper

Data, Medical Advances to Foster 'Predictive Underwriting'

Nano-medicine and home genetic testing will spur a brave new future for insurers.

Underwriting By DNA?

Underwriters are viewed as the morgue of an insurance company, “the policy prevention department” as my business partner once put it. Assessing individual mortality is part science and part luck. But the advances made in genome sequence are going tip the scales greatly towards the world of science.

Gene Knowledge

Privacy concerns linger, but there's a case to be made for allowing the use of genetic information in insurance underwriting, says this piece in the January/February 2011 issue of Contingencies.

Gene Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease Plays Key Role in Cell Survival

Scientists have discovered that a gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease may play a beneficial role in cell survival by enabling neurons to clear away toxic proteins.

The Impact of Genetic Innovations on Longevity

The 20th century witnessed steady and dramatic extensions of longevity in the United States. At the beginning of the 20th century, U.S. life expectancy was just under 50 years. By the end of the century, it had extended to almost 80 years.

Book Review: How We Live And Why We Die - The Secret Lives of Cells

This book, published by Faber & Faber, London 2009, is written by a respected developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert and for anyone who wants to really 'understand genetics' it takes you back to where

Life After Death: Modern Genetics and the Estate Claim

In this article by Kimberly Whaley, Partner, Whaley Estate Litigation and a certified specialist in Estates and Trust Law, she considers certain estate law issues that may arise given recent scientific advances in the field of genetics and assisted reproduction, and how the courts are likely to react to these issues. (Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting)

The Financial Impact of Genetic Information on the Life Insurance Industry

PhD dissertation submitted in February 2010 by Fei (Billy) Yu at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Reviews studies of several diseases and examines the significance of genetic information for critical illness and life insurance.

ALUCA: December 2009 RiskeBusiness Newsletter

Catch Hank's article on Rx Underwriting, a look at the genetics of Huntington's Disease, a piece on medical advances that affect the industry, and more.

Who is GINA and what does she expect?

GINA may sound like the name of a hurricane but, in fact, it is an acronym for a new federal law. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), signed into law by President George Bush on May 21, spells out what employers and group health insurance plans can and cannot do with regard to genetic information.

Longevity Genes May Protect Against Alzheimer's

A genetic variation previously linked to longevity may also protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, according to a new study. The variant affects cholesterol metabolism, boosting levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good" cholesterol, but it's not yet clear how it could promote healthy aging in the brain. The new findings are likely to heighten interest in finding ways to chemically enhance good cholesterol--experimental drugs that mimic the molecular effects of the genetic variant are already in clinical tests for heart disease.

Technology Review: Simpler Colon Cancer Screening

A new blood test could improve cancer-screening compliance.

A Turning Point for Personal Genomes

Scientists are finally starting to find medical information of value.

Good Laboratory Practices for Molecular Genetic Testing for Heritable Diseases and Conditions

This report provides Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) recommendations for good laboratory practices for ensuring the quality of molecular genetic testing for heritable diseases and conditions. The recommended practices address the total testing process (including the preanalytic,analytic,and postanalytic phases),laboratory responsibilities regarding authorized persons,confidentiality of patient information,personnel competency,considerations before introducing molecular genetic testing or offering new molecular genetic tests,and the quality management system approach to molecular genetic testing. These recommendations are intended for laboratories that perform molecular genetic testing for heritable diseases and conditions and for medical and public health professionals who evaluate laboratory practices and policies to improve the quality of molecular genetic laboratory services. This report also is intended to be a resource for users of laboratory services to aid in their use of molecular genetic tests and test results in health assessment and care. Improvements in the quality and use of genetic laboratory services should improve the quality of health care and health outcomes for patients and families of patients.

Immune Overhaul for Diabetes

Some diabetics who received a stem-cell transplant do not need insulin injections years later.

Genetics and Insurance Medicine on Handling Genetic Information

From Gen Re's Risk Insights publication.

Personalized Medicine's Bitter Pill

Drugs tailored to an individual's genetic makeup promise to be safer and more effective, but they raise tricky economic and ethical questions.

A Hole in the Genome

A small chunk of DNA linked to schizophrenia, mental retardation, and autism may change the way we think about disease.

MGH to use genetics to personalize cancer care

Cancer doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital plan within a year to read the genetic fingerprints of nearly all new patients' tumors, a novel strategy designed to customize treatment.

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