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Privacy

When MVRs are run for underwriting reasons on drivers of a business, the employer often asks the agency for a copy or the agency, perhaps as a value-added service, provides a copy to the employer? Should the agency be doing this?
Over the next several months we are going to explore how you can protect your data from a data breach and what the federal and state laws say you must do to protect it and what you must do in the event of a data breach. Stay tuned while we take you through a process on how you should be taking proactive, strategic steps to protect your customer and employee data — and for developing a plan on how you would respond should something occur that compromises that data.
Do you know why that Privacy Notice is on your website? Or are you one of many that haven't taken the time to even put one there? Would you be surprised to know that this is effectively mandated by federal law?
By now, most property and casualty insurance agents are aware that a majority of their customers (approximately three-fourths) actually benefit from underwriters using their credit behavior to set insurance policy rates.  However, when asked the reasons why, very few can articulate them.  A lack of knowledge and understanding, along with the voices of the remaining one-fourth of customers, has resulted in a growing number of complaints to state Department of Insurance (DOI) divisions over the past few years.
When a commercial lines client requests an agency to run an MVR on a new employee in conjunction with adding him/her as a driver to the BAP, the agency may be able to do so without the written permission of the employee. That is, under the FCRA, Section 604, it's legal if necessary to 'the underwriting of insurance.' However, that doesn't mean you can do it....
April 14, 2004, that's the compliance date for the HIPAA Privacy Rule for small health plans. A small health plan is defined as a plan that spends less than $5,000,000 in premium annually if fully insured, or pay less than $5,000,000 in claims annually if self-insured. Are you in compliance?
Buried in the Health Information Technology section of ARRA was legislation that will forever change how your agency handles information for your employee benefits clients. Following the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules is not optional. As state attorney generals become more aware of how to pursue noncompliance by business associates the greater your chance of an audit.
Has your agency started the implementation of security policies and procedures to meet HIPAA Security Rule requirements? What about other laws for essential security requirements? Have you developed your security training plans? Just what are these requirements? The answer comes right from the final security rule....
April 14, 2004, that's the compliance date for the HIPAA Privacy Rule for small health plans. A small health plan is defined as a plan that spends less than $5,000,000 in premium annually if fully insured, or pay less than $5,000,000 in claims annually if self-insured. Are you in compliance?
Following up on her original article on HIPAA, Judi Newman provides more information about the nature and scope of HIPAA implementation that will help you better understand the compliance implications and how you can explain them to your staff and clients.
Do you ever call customer service for a company and get a message that the call may be recorded or monitored? Most likely this is a quality control function and something you may do in your own agency to measure your customer service or E&O exposure. Keep in mind that there are legal ramifications of doing this and certain caveats to consider.
With more stringent underwriting that has resulted from a proliferation of mold and water damage claims, agents and others are facing increased demands for background reports when real estate is purchased or an insurance application made. However, providing this information (commonly through CLUE reports) can be hazardous to your agency's E&O health.
Insureds, especially commercial clients who hire drivers, often ask their agent to furnish them with copies of MVRs on current or prospective employees. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), there are strict guidelines governing the release of such information...and potentially serious penalties for violations (not to mention the exposure to civil suits).
Increasingly, we are receiving inquiries from agents wondering about the impact of HIPAA on their operations. Well, if you thought Gramm-Leach-Bliley was a pain, in the words of Al Jolson, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Although we're only a few months away from implementation, very few agents understand what HIPAA means to them and their clients, and how serious the penalties can be for noncompliance.
Here's what we do know about HIPAA:  _____Here's what we don't know about HIPAA:  ∞This article includes links to authoritative and otherwise web sites that may answer many of your questions about HIPAA compliance.