Biological analysis company Life Length’s Telomere Analysis Technology (TAT) – an analytical process to find the biological age of individuals, may have significant effect on the value of enhanced annuities worth more than £50,000, said head of pension policy at Standard Life, John Lawson.
Mr. Lawson said the new technology, which finds out how fast an individual is aging biologically through DNA test, may be used to calculate the value of enhanced annuities in six years time with government backing.
The over the counter Life Length test costs £400 and is expected to be available in Britain by the end of this year, though it’s yet to receive the Department of Health’s accreditation.
“Our agreement with the Department of Health, which prevents us from using genetic testing, will be up for review in 2017”, said Mr. Lawson.
Insurers in the future may be allowed to perform DNA test for a much lower amount than the present minimum of £500,000 for life insurance, permissible only for Huntington’s disease, said Mr. Lawson.
“If this test proves to be accurate, I can see a future market in which insurers use, and may even demand, genetic testing for annuities worth more than £50,000. I doubt whether there has ever been a case where genetic testing has been used”, added Mr. Lawson.
“It is still unclear if the telomeres test would be useful for predicting longevity, after accounting for other factors linked to longevity”, said longevity expert at Legal & General, Joseph Lu.
“So, although the test is an interesting development and one that we will monitor, it is too early to assess what effect, if any, it will have on annuities at this stage”, added Mr. Lou.
“It sounds like a sensible idea”, said David Trenner, technical director at Glasgow based Intelligent Pensions, adding: “ I have been saying for a long time that providers should have their annuities underwritten properly, although I would not necessarily want to be told that, based on my DNA, I am not expected to live that long”.
Managing director of Norfolk based Almary Green Investments, Carl Lamb agreed. “In principle this test sounds like a good idea. It will be a positive development if it helps people make choices and speeds up the process”, he concluded.