The result of two key social developments in recent years are
examined here: the partial dismantling of the welfare state and the
progress of genetics. Genetic insights are increasingly valuable
for risk assessment, and insurers would like to use these insights
to help determine premiums. Combined with the fact that social
welfare is being curtailed, this could potentially create an
uninsured high-risk population. Along with considerations of
autonomy and privacy, this is the basis for an ethical critique of
insurer's access to information. The result has often been
regulation of such information; but the authors argues that due to
adverse selection, regulation will not solve these problems, and
this may jeopardize the survival of private personal insurance.
Instead, we should look towards the resurrection of social
insurance, a key component of the welfare state. This will interest
academic researchers as well as professionals involved with
genetics and insurance.