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Insurance guidelines to be reviewed

The Human Rights Commission says it is reviewing its guideline on how the insurance industry complies with the Human Rights Act.

Wednesday, May 31st 2006, 8:55PM

The guidelines were initially published in 1997 to assist insurers to comply with the anti-discrimination provisions of the act.

Under the act it is unlawful for anyone to be refused insurance. This has the effect of preventing life insurance companies from refusing to provide cover on risks they may consider uninsurable.

It says the review is now timely. “A draft discussion paper is in development and will be available for public comment at the end of June. Members of the public are invited to provide information about the experiences they’ve had in seeking insurance.”

The commission says it will work with the insurance industry during the review and will respond to issues raised in the discussion paper.

Key issues will include:

  • The difference between lawful and unlawful discrimination;
  • What is meant by reasonable statistical or actuarial data, advice or opinion;
  • What medical advice or opinion justifies different terms and conditions;
  • When exclusions or pre-existing conditions amount to refusal to insure;
  • Insuring mental disability;
  • Options for addressing potential genetic discrimination including the implications of a human rights approach to the development of policy and legislation.

A new set of guidelines will be drafted following the completion of consultation on the draft discussion document.

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