NU Online News Service, Jan. 18, 5:53 p.m. – At least two property-casualty insurance trade groups may support a suit that the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, is preparing to file over a Vermont privacy regulation.

A spokeswoman for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Indianapolis, says her group will join the suit.

The National Association of Independent Insurers, Des Plaines, Ill., needs final assurance that members approve of the suit, but it is 95% certain it will join, according to Kathleen Jensen, insurance services counsel.

ACLI has announced plans to file its suit in the next few weeks, to oppose an “opt-in” privacy requirement in a regulation that Vermont insurance regulators adopted to comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999.

To comply with the opt-in requirement, insurers must persuade customers to “opt in to,” or actively approve, any arrangements to share information about their credit worthiness and personal characteristics with non-affiliates.

Insurers say Vermont regulators should replace the opt-in requirement with an “opt out” requirement, which would allow customers who object to sharing of personal information to take steps to get out of the arrangements.

Vermont insurance regulators have maintained that they imposed the opt-in requirement on insurers because they were trying to hold insurers to the same standards that they apply to banks.

At NAII, Jensen says her group is concerned about the requirements for wording of privacy notices as well as the opt-in provision.

The model act approved by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., requires a privacy notice for all nonpublic personal financial information collected, Jensen says.

Because the Vermont regulation requires a notice for nonpublic personal information which includes health information, companies would have to send one notice to policyholders in states using the NAIC language, and another, separate notice to Vermont policyholders, Jensen says.