Genetic Testing Moratorium For Life Insurance in Australia


In Australia, genetic tests are no longer a barrier for consumers seeking life insurance, following the implementation of the Financial Services Council’s Moratorium on genetic tests in life insurance on 1 July.

The Moratorium (Standard No. 11) enables Australians to get up to $500,000 of life cover without disclosing an adverse genetic test result to their life insurer, and will be in place until at least 30 June 2024.

FSC Standards are mandatory for FSC members and all companies offering life insurance in Australia are members.

The FSC announced in March that its genetic testing moratorium policy will be implemented from 1 July 2019 (see: Genetic Testing Moratorium Update…). 

FSC Chief Executive, Sally Loane, says this means if you want to get a genetic test or take part in genomic research and not share the results with your life insurer – you now can.

“We know the community benefits from genomic research and the Moratorium is key to giving Australians the reassurance they need and the flexibility to evolve as the science does.” 

“Genomic research has already led to better treatments for a number of illnesses, such as breast cancer, and has led to new ways for people to understand and better manage their health risks,” Loane said.

FSC Chief Executive in Australia, Sally Loane

The FSC stated Australia is now the only country in the world outside the United Kingdom where a favourable genetic test result can be disclosed, but an adverse result doesn’t have to be.

“The FSC believes it is vital to have an agile solution like a Moratorium which, unlike legislation, can easily adapt and change as new breakthroughs are discovered – which is why we committed to having it in place by 1 July this year,” explained Loane.

The Moratorium will be regularly reviewed to support scientific research and genetic inclusion, while protecting the interest of the wider community who have life insurance.

The Moratorium will be included in the Life Insurance Code of Practice which is currently under review, meaning the Moratorium will have independent oversite by the life code compliance committee who will have the power to sanction members who do not comply.

Further key features of the new Moratorium include:

  • Reviewed in 2022 with a view to extending the end date, the financial limits and any other required changes.
  • The insurance cover limits compare favourably with other countries, being closely aligned to Switzerland and Germany, and significantly higher than Sweden and Holland. Cover limits are as follows:

• $500,000 of lump sum death cover.

• $500,000 of total permanent disability cover

• $200,000 of trauma/critical illness cover

• $4,000 a month in total of any combination of income protection, salary continuance or business expenses Cover