GP practices

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Medical information and requests from insurers

Principles for releasing electronic medical information for insurance under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1998

In January 2017, the Association of British Insurers published a set of high level principles on requesting and obtaining medical information electronically from GPs. The principles were developed with input from the BMA and the ICO. Compliance with these principles will ensure that the release of electronic medical information for insurance purposes will be in line, or be a higher data protection standard, than the current paper-based system.

The new guiding principles can be found on the ABI's website

The BMA has separate guidance on the AMRA legislation

Read guidance on requests for medical reports

Practices can apply for a fee for completion of these reports

Practices should seek to agree the fee with the requestor in advance of completion. Practices may also wish to seek advanced payment.

Read fee guidance for insurance reports


Guidance on the use of electronic signatures

We have been aware of the move towards electronic patient consent within the insurance industry. Where practices agree with the insurance company to provide a GP report, the legal position is that electronic consent is acceptable.

Read ABI guidance on electronic signatures


Use of Subject Access Requests (SARs) for insurance purposes

Should a practice require a subject access request from an insurer, the BMA's guidance, which is based on advice from the ICO, should be followed.

Read guidance on SARs


Release of information to verify insurance claims

Sometimes insurers need medical information to verify a claim, for example before a company organises repatriation of an insured person taken ill abroad. In these circumstances a medical report is not necessary.

Consent is needed before information is disclosed to insurance companies for the purpose of verifying claims. In such cases, the company must approach the insured person for permission to release sufficient information to verify the claim. Evidence of that consent must be provided to the insured person's doctor.