With the widespread availability of genetic testing, especially in direct-to-consumer forms, there is a growing concern about the privacy of that information and whether it can be used by insurers to underwrite policies for certain lines of insurance. Federal law provides a base amount of protection through the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which prohibits discrimination based on genetic information in both the health insurance and employment context. However, GINA does not apply to life, disability or long-term care insurance. With such limited federal protections, individual states are left to provide greater protections if they wish to.
Concerns over the use of credit history in the insurance industry have been on regulators’ radar for some time, and economic uncertainty and increasingly widespread calls to address income inequality and systemic racial discrimination have made the issue all the more timely. Amid this backdrop, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has asked the state legislature to introduce legislation to amend current law in order to discontinue the use of credit-based insurance scores, which he calls unfair and discriminatory.