For those who might be new to the concept, could you explain what genetic testing is all about?
Matjaz Petrovic: We all know that genes define many of our characteristics. Genetic testing is a test with saliva or blood samples that identifies predispositions in a person's genes. Innovative technology enables us to read a person's entire genetic code. We can learn about a person's unique genetic traits, such as how they might respond to certain foods, what are their genetic requirements for sleep, exercise preferences, ability to cope with stress, even predict the likelihood of developing specific diseases, and even how they might react to certain medications. The primary goal of genetic testing is to provide personalized healthcare recommendations based on an individual's unique genetic makeup.
How do you envision genetic testing shaping the future of healthcare?
M.P.: Genetic testing is already playing a significant role in preventive healthcare. By identifying potential health risks in advance, individuals can take proactive steps to manage these risks through lifestyle changes, early interventions, or personalized treatment plans. In the future, I believe we'll see an even greater emphasis on prevention as genetic testing becomes more accessible and affordable.
Can you provide some examples of personalised recommendations that can come from genetic testing?
M.P.: We can provide insights into a person's nutritional needs, exercise needs, and even sleep patterns, all of which can contribute to a more personalised approach to overall wellness. For example, if your body has an inefficient metabolism of vitamin B12, it is essential to address it and prevent long-term consequences like cognitive decline, nervous system damage, fatigue, weakness and anaemia.
Moreover, genetic testing allows us to predict a person's susceptibility to various diseases based on their genetic makeup. This includes conditions such as heart disease, immune system dysfunction, and certain cancers. With this knowledge, individuals can take preventive measures to minimise their risk.
One significant advancement in genetic testing is our ability to determine how a person's body responds to specific medications or treatments, we call it pharmacogenomics. This information enables healthcare professionals to administer the most effective treatment right away.
How can insurance companies benefit from genetic testing without accessing test results?
M.P.: Genetic testing presents a unique market differentiation for insurance companies seeking to strengthen customer retention and improve product offerings. By promoting genetic testing as a valuable service for their customers' loyalty, insurance companies can influence customer retention.
Additionally, companies could offer incentives to policyholders who undergo genetic testing and follow the recommended preventive measures. This could lead to reduced healthcare costs and improved outcomes for both the insured and the insurer.
With increased awareness and interest in personal health, insurance companies can expand their portfolio with products tailored to their market needs, which also offers upselling opportunities.
Have you had any experience working with insurance companies in relation to genetic testing?
M.P.: GenePlanet partners with major European insurance companies, integrating genetic testing into their policies, like Allianz, Uniqa, Generali... These collaborations have resulted in improved customer retention and higher premium values. Our partnerships also include reinsurance companies like Hannover Re and SCOR, who have published detailed whitepapers with recommendations on this topic.
We regularly check client satisfaction for our insurance partnerships. Our latest survey shows over 90% satisfaction rate. Which means people are really happy with the genetic testing as a benefit their insurance providers offer.
How do you ensure the privacy of clients' information is safeguarded?
M.P.: The information obtained from DNA, blood, and body measurements is highly personal and potentially sensitive. At GenePlanet, we are committed to upholding the highest security standards to protect individual privacy. Our process, which is entirely safe, involves assigning unique ID codes to samples that are analyzed in accredited European laboratories. Additionally, our ISO27001 certification ensures that every stage of our process, from managing samples to delivering results, is carefully regulated and controlled.
The future of healthcare lies in the power of personalization. With the potential to improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and offer opportunities for insurance companies, genetic testing is poised to revolutionise the way we approach wellness and care. It's an exciting time to be part of this rapidly evolving field, and we eagerly await the advancements that are sure to come.