Information and Ethics in Insurance

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Insurance companies have a right to gather information about persons who wish to apply for insurance. That right has to be balanced by the applicant's right to privacy. Insurance companies abuse personal information at their own and the industry's risk. The issues involved are explored, research examined and the following recommendations are made: privacy concerns of customers are legitimate and the insurance industry must take appropriate steps to secure data; careful data handling can be a competitive advantage and if it is deserved it should be taken; almost every public policy activity of insurers, agents and trade organizations can have secondary effects that deal with data and privacy; rules governing the privacy of data will evolve from social values and produce a body of common law; and, to combat unacceptable regulation of insurance industry data practices, work proactively to develop a system that will provide the regulation.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of the CPCU Journal and is reprinted with permission of the CPCU Society, Malvern, PA. Permission granted by publisher 01/13/2011.
Brown, D. J., L. Gammill, N. L. Nielson, and M. A. Seville. "Information and Ethics in Insurance." CPCU Journal (Winter 1998), pp. 227-237.