On November 4, 2013, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, which is the Chinese regulatory and administrative authority for the insurance sector, issued the Interim Measures for the Management of the Authenticity of Information of Life Insurance Customers (the “Measures”). The Measures require life insurance companies and their agents to ensure the authenticity of personal data of life insurance policy holders. To help achieve this objective, the Measures impose rules for the collection, recording, management and use of the personal data of policy holders.

With respect to the collection of the personal data of a life insurance policy holder, the Measures set forth the following principal requirements:

  • To inform the client, within the text of the insurance policy, of the necessity of the data collection and the uses of the data, and the result of not providing real and complete personal data;
  • To take effective measures to verify the identity of a client;
  • To record the client’s personal data correctly and completely;
  • To promise not to use the client’s personal data, without his or her consent, for marketing activities, whether by the life insurance company itself or by a third party;
  • To strictly limit the scope of entities, departments and personnel that can access the client’s personal data;
  • To prohibit any employee or insurance agent from forging or falsifying client information, accessing or using client information out of the limited permitted scope of use, or leaking or selling client information; and
  • For any employee or insurance agent who commits a violation described in the item above, to terminate the individual’s employment contract or the agency agreement.  In addition, no other insurance company may hire such individual as an insurance agent.

As we previously reported, China’s personal information protection framework is developing on a piecemeal, sector-by-sector, regulation-by-regulation basis. The Measures represent a more focused, and relatively narrow, instance of this pattern of development.