Author: Chris Boggs
Regina Anderson, Technical Services Manager with the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT), recently received the following question:
Q. With the Equifax breach, many of our insureds are freezing their credit as is being suggested. Since insurance companies rely on credit reports, how will this work if the insured freezes their credit?
According to the FTC, a credit freeze does not affect your credit score and it does not keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. But if you're doing any of these, you'll need to lift the freeze temporarily with the pin that you were provided when you freeze your credit. You can lift the freeze either for a specific time or for a specific party. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it's best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.
Certain entities still will have access to your credit report if it is frozen and your report can be released to your existing creditors or to debt collectors acting on their behalf.
View the FTC's Credit Freeze FAQs for more information.
This is great information! When you begin digging into the "freezing" process, you find lots of interesting information.
Were You Affected
Click here is you want to know if you were impacted by the Equifax breach.
After entering the necessary information, you will receive one of two messages. One will tell you Equifax thinks you may have been impacted by the breach or one that says they see no impact. I checked mine and my wife's credit – we both received the same message, that our information may have been impacted. We are just two of the 143 million who may have been affected.
Ultimately, I decided to freeze my credit with all four credit bureaus (yes, there are four). Following are links to each credit bureau:
USA Today published a good article on freezing your credit.
From an insurance perspective, if a credit bureau can be hacked, so too can your insured (and even your agency). Remember to pay attention to the cyber exposure. Following are links to some of IIABA's resources:
Last Updated: September 29, 2017