Let Floridians Use Their Own Personal Information

Jan 17, 2020

Legislation introduced in Florida this week would block consumers from using their own personal information to get a lower rate for life insurance. To make matters worse, it would also cut some of the state’s neediest residents off from protecting themselves and their loved ones with life insurance by making it too expensive.

The bill would ban consumers from sharing any information in their medical record with a life insurer—even critical information documenting their health—if it is derived from a genetic test.

Life insurance depends on medical records, and the system that works for all consumers depends on honesty in sharing that information. If an applicant’s true health condition isn’t known, then rates have to be higher to make up for the uncertainty. Keeping the protection that life insurance offers families affordable and accessible is essential for low- and middle-income families in Florida. Life insurance provides financial security and stability. And even small increases in cost drive away consumers from getting the protection they need. That’s not fair and it heightens economic disparities.

Separate from at-home DNA kits, advances in genetic science in medicine fuel advances, diagnoses and treatments. They also empower consumers to take better control of their health. Many people can use their genetic information to get life, disability and long-term care insurance at lower prices than they could before such technological advances. With information, they can take actions that put them in a stronger position for coverage. Already, 93 percent of consumers are approved for life insurance coverage the first time they apply. The advantages of genetic information – again, as part of the medical record – would be eliminated by the legislation now pending before the Florida legislature.

Other states have carefully considered how to protect consumer information without disrupting the marketplace that lets consumers access protection with insurance. Florida consumers deserve the same. It’s important for their financial security, and life insurers want to continue safeguarding and securing individuals and families.

Curt Leonard

Curt Leonard is Regional Vice President, State Relations at the American Council of Life Insurers. He is responsible for state legislative and regulatory affairs in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. He also leads ACLI’s state advocacy team on issues of genetic science and long term care insurance. He joined ACLI in 2003.