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Access to medical reports for insurance purposes

Updated on Friday, 17 February 2017, 1318 views

Access to Medical Reports Act 1998 has replaced the use of Subject Access Requests for insurance purposes

We have been aware for some time, that rather than asking for a report from the applicant's GP, as previously agreed with the ABI (Association of British Insurers), some insurance companies were obtaining full medical records through the use of SARs (Subject Access Requests), under the DPA (Data Protection Act 1998).

We were concerned that this practice was potentially a breach of the DPA, as disclosure of the full medical record would amount to a disclosure of information which was not relevant for the purpose. On behalf of our members we raised this matter with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).

The ICO wrote to the ABI to confirm that the right of subject access is not designed to underpin the commercial processes of the life insurance industry. As a result, life insurers previously using SAR have withdrawn requesting them and are now pursuing solutions using the Access to Medical Reports Act process.

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