New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 2/20/2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT TAKES STEPS TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH CONSUMER PRIVACY PROTECTIONS
Licensees Required to Report Progress as Conformity Deadlines Approach

             Superintendent Neil D. Levin today announced that the Department is requiring licensees to submit written reports outlining policies, procedures, and controls in place with respect to consumer financial information in order to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of New York State consumers’ information.

            "The Department’s groundbreaking privacy regulation gives New York’s consumer the opportunity to prevent unwanted disclosure of their nonpublic personal information," said Levin. "This reporting procedure will ensure that licensees are establishing policies and systems to comply with Regulation 169 and inform consumers of their rights."

            Circular Letter No. 7 (2001) requires licensees to report the progress as of April 15, 2001 of compliance with the Department’s Privacy Regulation, Regulation 169. Responses to the questionnaire contained in the circular letter are due May 1, 2001.

            "The information obtained by the Department will assist us in assuring the preparedness of our licensees in complying with Regulation 169 and protecting consumers’ nonpublic personal financial and health information," said Levin.

            Regulation 169 sets forth a compliance date of July 1, 2001 for consumer financial information and December 31, 2001 with respect to health information. New York’s insurance customer will be provided an initial and annual opportunity to "opt-out" and block the sharing of nonpublic personal financial information with third parties. Consumers’ and customers’ health information is afforded even greater protection. Outside of carefully drawn business exceptions, licensees will not be allowed to share any health information. Without express permission, insurers are barred from sharing nonpublic personal health information with affiliates or third parties. A consumer or customer may grant a licensee permission to share the information with affiliates or third parties only by "opting-in". An "opt-in" authorization must specify the length of time for which the authorization will remain valid and cannot exceed 24 months.

            Regulation 169 and Circular Letter No. 7 (2001) are available on the Department’s web site at www.ins.state.ny.us.

           


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