Vermont Postpones Decision On Privacy Guidelines

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A proposed rule in Vermont to establish financial privacy guidelines under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 has been postponed until the end of the month, according to Jackie Hughes, general counsel with the Vermont department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration.

The Vermont legislative committee on administrative rules wanted to receive a legal opinion from the Vermont Attorney General’s office on the authority of the Vermont department to put the rule in place, Hughes says.

The rule for insurance companies has been opposed by insurers who maintain it exceeds the department’s authority as well as the dictates of GLB.

Affiliates would be required to operate according to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which says affiliates can share some data such as name and contact information. However, for information such as creditworthiness and personal characteristics, an opt-in would be required. Other states have an opt-out provision.

The Vermont department is trying to establish standards for insurers similar to standards for banks created by the Vermont bank privacy law, says Hughes.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 44 states and the District of Columbia have laws or regulations that meet GLB’s standards. Fifteen states have laws and regulations based on the NAIC’s privacy regulation addressing financial information. Thirteen states, according to the NAIC, are using its 1982 privacy model regulation. Seven states have privacy regulation pending, but have not taken final action.

California and Massachusetts are among the states that are still determining consumer privacy standards under GLB.

In California, a Senate Bill, S.B. 773, opposed by insurers and other financial services businesses, may be reintroduced when the legislature reconvenes in January 2002.

Massachusetts currently has several privacy bills pending in its legislature.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 15, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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