Senators Target Use Of Genetic Information

Feb 7, 2018

With sponsor Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, saying the proposal is about “freedom and privacy,” a Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would bar life insurers and long-term care insurers from using customers’ genetic information in decisions about writing or canceling policies.

The bill (SB 1106) approved by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, would be like an already-existing ban on the use of genetic information in health-insurance coverage.

But the bill drew opposition from the American Council of Life Insurers. Physician Bruce Margolis, who represented the council at the meeting, said life insurance and long-term care insurance policies are different from health insurance, at least in part, because they are more often written on an individual basis instead of as part of group coverage. Margolis said genetic information could help insurers determine risks.

“We want to appropriately price the risk,” Margolis said.

But Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican who sells insurance, questioned the need for the use of genetic information. He said life-insurance underwriting already works well.

The bill would still need to clear two more committees before it could reach the Senate floor. The House version (HB 855) has made it through committees and is available to go to the full House.