Select Committee on Science and Technology Minutes of Evidence

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from Mr Keith Beddell-Pearce, Director, Prudential plc

  Further to Prudential's written memorandum, submitted by our Chief Underwriter, John Dearing, (a copy of which I include for your information),[1] I am writing to request that an additional note be added to the public record to clarify our position on the use of genetic test results.

  In the course of the preparations we have undertaken in advance of the formal evidence session it has become apparent to me that an inconsistency existed in Prudential's policy in relation to genetic testing.

  Our practice is to accept negative tests where the existence of family history might otherwise give rise to an adverse underwriting result for the individual concerned.

  Although the situation has not yet arisen, as appears to be the practice of most other insurers, we would also have considered the implications of a positive test result in relation to the BRCA 1 & 2 and PS1/APP conditions if one had been made available with a proposal for life assurance. As the testing for these two conditions has not yet received formal GAIC approval, we have decided with immediate effect that our policy will be to not take notice of any positive test results in this area. As we have not had any cases involving positive test results, there are none to revisit.

  I have communicated to the ABI the fact that from now on, Prudential will only consider using positive test results once the tests have been approved by the GAIC.

  I apologise to the Committee that our original memorandum did not make clear the anomaly in relation to the two tests in question and for bringing it to the attention of the Committee at such a late stage, albeit with notification of our change in policy.

5 February 2001

1   See above. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 3 April 2001