Why Is The Industry So Blas? About Big Database Breach?
by Ara C. Trembly
One thing I discovered about the insurance industry when I migrated here some years back from the technology field is that we are an understated lot.
Theres just not a lot of excitement in our considerably large corner of the business world, and although insurance is filled with people possessed of 24-karat hearts, it is arguably devoid of dynamic personalities.
If I were to pick a single spokesperson to represent this industry, it would be the guy who used to do the Visine commercials. You know, the one with the big glasses, hangdog look and monotone voice that drones, “Visinegets the red out.” Cant you just picture him saying something like, “Insurancewe are party animals”?
But seriously folks, I am amazed at the reactionor lack of reactionin the insurance industry to the recent, all-too-easily accomplished breach of the databases held by Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint, which provides risk management and fraud prevention information to our industry. Its Insurance Services division provides information that includes motor vehicle reports, claims histories, customized policy rating and insurance software, and property inspections and audits.
I mean, we are talking about the company that maintains sensitive, private information on virtually every U.S. citizen. “They know more about us than the IRS does,” notes Chuck Johnston, longtime industry analyst and currently group director, insurance, for Siebel Systems Inc., based in San Mateo, Calif.
Literally tens of thousands of consumers had their information exposed to the bad guys who pretended to be customers who wanted to use the ChoicePoint database in order to gain access. Yet, since the story broke some weeks ago, very little has been said in our industry about what the effects could be for us.