Actuarial Maths & Statistics, Heriot-Watt Univ :

The Genetics and Insurance Research Centre

The Genetics and Insurance Research Centre (GIRC) was set up in 1999 in the Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The development of human genetics and genetic testing has enormous implications, not only for medicine, but also for the way in which health care, long-term care and all kinds of insurance are funded, and it is essential that these outcomes are researched at a time when major policy decisions are being considered by governments all over the world. GIRC's remit is to develop mathematical and actuarial models to estimate the costs of genetic knowledge to individuals, to insurers and to service providers.

GIRC has funding from a number of insurance companies, under the aegis of the Association of British Insurers. It is completely autonomous and independent: all its work will be in the public domain, and it is overseen by a broadly-based steering committee on which geneticists, actuaries and genetic interest groups are represented.

The four main strands of GIRC's project are:

The department has pioneered research into genetics and insurance. Examples of past and current work are:

For more information, please contact the director of GIRC, Prof Angus Macdonald (+44(0)131-451-3209 or

The principal sponsors of the GIRC are Allied Dunbar, AXA Sun Life, CGU, ERC Frankona, Lincoln, Norwich Union, Prudential, Royal Sun Alliance, Scottish Widows and the Association of British Insurers; other sponsors are Cologne Re, Friends Provident and Standard Life.

Page maintained by A. S. Macdonald. Last updated 1 May 2003