Life insurance is all about risk — the insurer assesses a policy based on likelihood of mortality, and the consumer is charged a premium rate based on complex actuarial tables. But the boom in direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits such as those offered by Google-backed 23andMe, can now give consumers a peek into a future that life insurers can't see.
Direct-to-consumer DNA kits, commonly used to track ancestry roots, increasingly allow individuals to assess their potential health risks by predicting genetic illnesses. DNA kit assessments like the "Genetic Health Report" that 23andMe has been providing are on the rise since the Food and Drug Administration approved the Google-backed company to assess risk for 10 genetic diseases. The report can recognize genetic variants associated with an increased risk of developing certain health conditions, including Late-Onset Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. It also provides a "Carrier Status" report, which determines if a customer carries a genetic variant for a health condition. The variant typically means the customer does not have the genetic disease, but shows they are prone to passing it down to their children.