New York State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEVIN REITERATES DEPARTMENTS COMMITMENT TO
PROTECTING CONSUMER PRIVACY RIGHTS
Superintendent Neil D. Levin today reiterated the Departments commitment to protecting consumers privacy rights in the wake of the recent passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA), the nations landmark financial services modernization law. At a hearing before the Assembly, Levin said that the Department is drafting regulations that will regulate financial institutions ability to share personal financial information about New Yorkers.
"Our goal is to enhance consumer awareness and to ensure that appropriate protections are in place as New York leads the way in implementing the law and in shaping insurance regulation in this new era of financial services," said Levin. "We are also carefully evaluating these issues so that our regulations protect the rights of consumers to maintain the privacy of their personal financial information and allow insurers and other financial institutions to take advantage of the opportunities under the new law."
Title V of GLBA requires Levin to establish appropriate consumer privacy standards for insurers. Regulations will be drafted as expeditiously as possible and upon completion, will be available for public comment. As part of this process, the Department is currently working with various parties involved in the process, including federal regulators and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). In addition, the Department will be reaching out to consumer groups in an effort to get as much feedback as possible.
In his testimony, Levin outlined the Departments action plan to implement GLBA. Highlights of the issues the Department will be examining include companies authority to:
Share information with affiliates and with non-affiliates;
Comply with consumer response requirements;
Establish minimum required privacy standards;
Evaluate uniform standards vs. stronger state standards;
Define non-public personal information; and
Require disclosure of privacy policies by institutions.
Levin urged the Legislature to swiftly pass a bill that will increase the Departments authority to impose penalties for violations of the insurance law giving the Department another tool to protect consumer privacy rights. The bill, which increases the fines from $500 to $1,000, is currently pending before the Legislature. Levin said today that if passed, this bill would represent the first increase in the Departments authority in this area in more than 30 years.
Levins testimony is available on the Departments Web site at www.ins.state.ny.us.