On August 18, 2010, the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner issued Bulletin IC-25 which mandates that entities within its jurisdiction notify the Department of Insurance of any "information security incident." This post provides a brief summary of this new requirement.

Who must provide the notice?

The Bulletin applies to all licensees and registrants of the Department. This generally means all entities regulated by the Insurance Department, including, insurance producers, public adjusters, bail bond agents, appraisers, certified insurance consultants, casualty claim adjusters, property and casualty insurers, life and health insurers, health care centers, fraternal benefit societies, captive insurers, utilization review companies, risk retention groups, surplus line companies, life settlement companies, preferred provider networks, pharmacy benefit managers, and medical discount plans.

Additionally, in cases where the information security incident happens at a vendor or business associate, the Department expects to be notified of the incident as well as how the

licensee or registrant is managing the vendor’s/business associate’s activities and what protections and remedies are being put in place by the vendor/business associate for the Connecticut consumers.

What is an "information security incident"? 

Under this Bulletin, an information security incident is:

any unauthorized acquisition or transfer of, or access to, personal health, financial, or personal information, whether or not encrypted, of a Connecticut insured, member, subscriber, policyholder or provider, in whatever form the information is collected, used or stored, which is obtained or maintained by a licensee or registrant of the Insurance Department, the loss of which could compromise or put at risk the personal, financial, or physical well being of the affected insureds, members, subscribers, policyholders or providers.

Thus, unlike the general Connecticut data breach notification statute which requires notification only with respect to computerized personal information, this mandate applies to paper documents which includes personal health, financial or personal information. Also, encrypted data is not exempt from this notification requirement.

What is personal health, financial, or personal information?

The Bulletin does not define this term and, therefore, is unclear in this regard. However, in discussing its authority to impose the requirement, the Department cites to Conn. Gen. Stat. §42-471, which defines "personal information" to mean:

information capable of being associated with a particular individual through one or more identifiers, including, but not limited to, a Social Security number, a driver’s license number, a state identification card number, an account number, a credit or debit card number, a passport number, an alien registration number or a health insurance identification number, and does not include publicly available information that is lawfully made available to the general public from federal, state or local government records or widely distributed media.

This definition, however, may not be as broad as how the Department views the term "personal health, financial or personal information." Licensees and registrants should be careful here and err on the side of being more inclusive when deciding whether an incident needs to be handled in accordance with this Bulletin.

When must notification be provided?

The Bulletin requires licensees and registrants of the Department to notify it of the incident as soon as the incident is identified, but no later than five (5) calendar days after the incident is identified.

Where should notice be sent?

Notification should be sent to the Insurance Commissioner in writing via first class mail, overnight delivery service or electronic mail.

What must the notice include?

Notification should include as much information as is known concerning the incident. The Bulletin provides the following list of items of information to be reported to the Department:

  • Date of the incident
  • Description of incident (how information was lost, stolen, breached)
  • How discovered
  • Has lost, stolen, or breached information been recovered and if so, how
  • Have individuals involved in the incident (both internal and external) been identified
  • Has a police report been filed
  • Type of information lost, stolen, or breached (equipment, paper, electronic, claims, applications, underwriting forms, medical records etc)
  • Was information encrypted
  • Lost, stolen or breached information covers what period of time
  • How many Connecticut residents affected
  • Results of any internal review identifying either a lapse in internal procedures or confirmation that all procedures were followed
  • Identification of remedial efforts being undertaken to cure the situation which permitted the information security incident to occur.
  • Copies of the licensee/registrants Privacy Policies and Data Breach Policy.
  • Regulated entity contact person for the Department to contact regarding the incident. (This should be someone who is both familiar with the details and able to authorize actions for the licensee or registrant)
  • Other regulatory or law enforcement agencies notified (who, when)

One of the items on this list to note is a Data Breach Policy which all entities should consider adopting even if not subject to this Bulletin.

Does the Department require that credit monitoring be offered in the event of an information security incident?

It looks like the Department may require credit monitoring in some circumstances. The Bulletin states that:

Depending on the type of incident and information involved, the Department will also want to have discussions regarding the level of credit monitoring and insurance protection which the Department will require to be offered to affected consumers and for what period of time. 

In addition, the Department wants to review the draft letters informing individuals of the information security incident.

Will the Department impose penalties?

The Bulletin states that the Department will evaluate each incident independently based on the applicable circumstances, and notes that some situations may warrant imposition of administrative penalties. The Department urges licenses and registrants to follow these procedures in order to minimize the possibility for penalties.

Licenses and registrants surely will need to review this guidance and incorporate it into their information security programs. Other entities should take note of this development and recognize the increasing efforts by federal and state agencies to safeguard personal information.

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Photo of Joseph J. Lazzarotti Joseph J. Lazzarotti

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)…

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Trained as an employee benefits lawyer, focused on compliance, Joe also is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits practice group.

In short, his practice focuses on the matrix of laws governing the privacy, security, and management of data, as well as the impact and regulation of social media. He also counsels companies on compliance, fiduciary, taxation, and administrative matters with respect to employee benefit plans.

Privacy and cybersecurity experience – Joe counsels multinational, national and regional companies in all industries on the broad array of laws, regulations, best practices, and preventive safeguards. The following are examples of areas of focus in his practice:

  • Advising health care providers, business associates, and group health plan sponsors concerning HIPAA/HITECH compliance, including risk assessments, policies and procedures, incident response plan development, vendor assessment and management programs, and training.
  • Coached hundreds of companies through the investigation, remediation, notification, and overall response to data breaches of all kinds – PHI, PII, payment card, etc.
  • Helping organizations address questions about the application, implementation, and overall compliance with European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, in particular, its implications in the U.S., together with preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Working with organizations to develop and implement video, audio, and data-driven monitoring and surveillance programs. For instance, in the transportation and related industries, Joe has worked with numerous clients on fleet management programs involving the use of telematics, dash-cams, event data recorders (EDR), and related technologies. He also has advised many clients in the use of biometrics including with regard to consent, data security, and retention issues under BIPA and other laws.
  • Assisting clients with growing state data security mandates to safeguard personal information, including steering clients through detailed risk assessments and converting those assessments into practical “best practice” risk management solutions, including written information security programs (WISPs). Related work includes compliance advice concerning FTC Act, Regulation S-P, GLBA, and New York Reg. 500.
  • Advising clients about best practices for electronic communications, including in social media, as well as when communicating under a “bring your own device” (BYOD) or “company owned personally enabled device” (COPE) environment.
  • Conducting various levels of privacy and data security training for executives and employees
  • Supports organizations through mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations with regard to the handling of employee and customer data, and the safeguarding of that data during the transaction.
  • Representing organizations in matters involving inquiries into privacy and data security compliance before federal and state agencies including the HHS Office of Civil Rights, Federal Trade Commission, and various state Attorneys General.

Benefits counseling experience – Joe’s work in the benefits counseling area covers many areas of employee benefits law. Below are some examples of that work:

  • As part of the Firm’s Health Care Reform Team, he advises employers and plan sponsors regarding the establishment, administration and operation of fully insured and self-funded health and welfare plans to comply with ERISA, IRC, ACA/PPACA, HIPAA, COBRA, ADA, GINA, and other related laws.
  • Guiding clients through the selection of plan service providers, along with negotiating service agreements with vendors to address plan compliance and operations, while leveraging data security experience to ensure plan data is safeguarded.
  • Counsels plan sponsors on day-to-day compliance and administrative issues affecting plans.
  • Assists in the design and drafting of benefit plan documents, including severance and fringe benefit plans.
  • Advises plan sponsors concerning employee benefit plan operation, administration and correcting errors in operation.

Joe speaks and writes regularly on current employee benefits and data privacy and cybersecurity topics and his work has been published in leading business and legal journals and media outlets, such as The Washington Post, Inside Counsel, Bloomberg, The National Law Journal, Financial Times, Business Insurance, HR Magazine and NPR, as well as the ABA Journal, The American Lawyer, Law360, Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin, the Australian Privacy Law Bulletin and the Privacy, and Data Security Law Journal.

Joe served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith on the Missouri Court of Appeals.