Zurich Insurance admits big data loss
Half a million customer records
Zurich Insurance has admitted losing the personal account details for more than half a million people more than a year ago.
51, 000 British customers' details were on the tape, along with hundreds of thousands of details from people in South Africa and Botswana. They should have received letters warning them of the loss in recent days.
The data was backed up on tape and was on its way to a South African storage centre when it was lost in August 2008. It included account details for 51, 000 British customers, 550, 000 South African customers and about 40, 000 accounts from Botswana. The insurer said it had seen no evidence that the information was being used for ID fraud or otherwise exploited.
Customers at risk are those with Zurich general insurance, not life insurance.
Zurich has hired KPMG to sort out its data protection policies and has also kept the Financial Services Authority and the Information Commissioner's Office informed.
A spokeswoman for Zurich told the Register: "People have been calling the phonelines for reassurance and generally the response has not been bad. We've hired KPMG to find out why it has taken so long for this loss to come to light."
Annette Court, chief exec of Zurich UK, apologised for the loss and said the firm was improving internal procedures to "ensure that incidents of this nature do not happen again.".
There is a dedicated phoneline number included in customers' letters or you can call 08000 152 183 from the UK or +44 1709 764 401 from outside the UK. There is also information at http://www.zurich.co.uk/home/aboutus/id.htm
How do they know
there has been no misuse of the data? The thieves are hardly likely to be taking out insurance policies.
Not quite as big as it appears
Going by the Zurich web site it's only people with "Zurich Private Clients, Zurich Special Risks and Zurich Business Insurance Direct" policies who are affected not things like car insurance. Although there'd be some juicy info in some of those, probably more so than car insurance for example.
Still wondering how on earth they manage to lose this stuff and what the couriers say.
British Data in South Africa? Not Cricket
I thought data on UK people was subject to UK and Common Market strictures.
It's bad enough having the Blair/Brown enterprise opening up everyone's privacy for unaccountable civil servants, 'intelligence' types and police to rifle through without account, now we have the same risk from the South African government.
Maybe people completing forms should write on them this data is not permitted to leave the geographical UK.
I Wish ...
That the bank would treat my mortgage in the same way!
"I also wonder what punishment the ICO or FSA will mete out?"
See "A trip to the ICO’s security-free world " on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/citydiary/6275124/City-diary-Tories-and-tramps-are-ready-for-change.html