FSS vows to step up insurer scrutiny

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FSS vows to step up insurer scrutiny

The country’s financial regulator says it will intensify its inspections after news that personal information of more than 160,000 customers was sold by an insurance company employee.

Meritz Fire and Marine Insurance announced Tuesday that personal information of more than 160,000 customers had been leaked by one of its employees. The FSS began an inspection of Meritz yesterday.

“We plan to take a closer look into how insurance companies manage customer information and their information technology systems overall,” said an official from the Financial Supervisory Service. The FSS conducts inspections of insurance companies on an annual basis, and they will become more thorough and disciplinary measures will be taken if necessary.

“It’s been confirmed that our employee provided information for 163,925 customers to two general insurance agencies in March?and was paid 10.85 million won [$96,000],” said an official from Meritz. “We plan to take legal action against the employee.”

According to Meritz, part of the leaked information was used in insurance sales activities.

The company?also informed the FSS about the incident?after?confirming the leak based on an internal?inspection.?Compromised customer information included names, birth dates, phone numbers, addresses, employers and insurance fees.

In addition to Meritz, it’s been also confirmed last week that information about 160,000 Hanwha Damage Insurance customers was leaked in 2011. The insurance company, however, did not report the case to the FSS immediately. The FSS issued a warning to the company and a separate warning to an executive, and took disciplinary measure against three employees.

Customer information held by insurance companies is considered more sensitive because it can include health issues. The information leak by Hanwha was the first case among insurers, according to the FSS.

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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