Updated: 27 October 2023

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has reminded insurance companies that complaints it receives will be assessed on how fairly the company treats its customers.

The reminder comes in response to media reports that consumers have been denied insurance or have been asked to undertake genetic testing.

AFCA’s remit is not only to resolve financial disputes, but to influence reform in the financial sector.

“Since July 1, in many cases, life insurers are not able to ask you to undertake genetic testing,” said Lead Ombudsman Dr June Smith.

“The value of the insurance product determines whether the company can request such testing.

“AFCA can help resolve complaints where a person says an insurer has discriminated against them because of genetic testing.

 “Where a person has taken measures to reduce their risk, for example by having a mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer, we would expect the life insurance company to take this into consideration when assessing an application for insurance,” Dr Smith said.

“It is also difficult to understand why genetic testing would impact on travel insurance.”


Published: 11 July 2019


Media enquiries media@afca.org.au

About AFCA

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. It is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.

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