New guidelines to tighten up data protection in insurance sector

Plans have been announced to make the data protection in the insurance sector more secure.

The Data Protection Commissioner has issued guidelines to ensure better protection of sensitive customer information.

It follows revelations that the Department of Social and Family Affairs was routinely leaking social welfare and employment records to the insurance firms, to help them investigate claims.

Under the new code, companies must keep a record of exactly how their customers' personal data is being used.

Mike Kemp of the Insurance Industry Federation welcomed the guidelines, but said there are aspects that go too far.

Mr Kemp said that the requirement to implement a very specific system ‘will create additional costs for insurers.

He added that there will be difficulties with the investigation of accidents before claims are made, placing an unnecessary extra burden in an area that hasn’t caused any difficulties in the past.

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