On January 23, 2018, the New York Attorney General announced that Aetna Inc. (“Aetna”) agreed to pay $1.15 million and enhance its privacy practices following an investigation alleging it risked revealing the HIV status of 2,460 New York residents by mailing them information in transparent window envelopes. In July 2017, Aetna sent HIV patients information on how to fill their prescriptions using envelopes with large clear plastic windows, through which patient names, addresses, claims numbers and medication instructions were visible. Through this, the HIV status of some patients was visible to third parties. The letters were sent to notify members of a class action lawsuit that, pursuant to that suit’s resolution, they could purchase HIV medications at physical pharmacy locations, rather than via mail order delivery. Continue Reading Aetna Agrees to $1.15 Million Settlement with New York Attorney General
On August 9, 2017, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (“Nationwide”) agreed to a $5.5 million settlement with attorneys general from 32 states in connection with a 2012 data breach that exposed the personal information of over 1.2 million individuals. Continue Reading Nationwide Agrees to Pay $5.5 Million to Settle Multistate Data Breach Investigation
On August 1, 2017, a unanimous three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative data breach class action against health insurer CareFirst, Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., No. 16-7108, slip op. (D.C. Cir. Aug. 1, 2017), finding the risk of future injury was not too speculative to establish injury in fact under Article III. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit’s Article III Standing Decision Deepens Appellate Disagreement
In March 2017, Syed Ahmad, a partner with Hunton & Williams LLP’s insurance practice, and Eileen Garczynski, partner at insurance brokerage Ames & Gough, co-authored an article, Protecting Company Assets with Cyber Liability Insurance, in Mealey’s Data Privacy Law Report. The article describes why cyber liability insurance is necessary for companies and provides tips on how it can make a big difference. Ahmad and Garczynski discuss critical questions companies seeking to protect company assets through cyber insurance should be asking.
As reported on the Insurance Recovery blog, earlier this week, retailer Tesco Plc’s (“Tesco”) banking branch reported that £2.5 million (approximately $3 million) had been stolen from 9,000 customer bank accounts over the weekend in what cyber experts said was the first mass hacking of accounts at a western bank. The reported loss still is being investigated by UK authorities, but is believed to have occurred through the bank’s online banking system. The loss, which is about half of what Tesco initially estimated, is still substantial and serves as a strong reminder that cyber-related losses are a real threat to retailers and other industries. According to reports, Tesco spent £500 million (approximately $618 million) building up its technology platform over the past seven years. Even that very substantial expenditure was not enough, however, to prevent the recent hack, illustrating the need for robust cyber insurance as a component of any comprehensive cyber protection program.
On October 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission released a guide for businesses on how to handle and respond to data breaches (the “Guide”). The 16-page Guide details steps businesses should take once they become aware of a potential breach. The Guide also underscores the need for cyber-specific insurance to help offset potentially significant response costs. Continue Reading FTC Issues Guide for Businesses on Handling Data Breaches
On October 18, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in Apache Corp. v. Great American Ins. Co., No 15-20499 (5th Cir. Oct. 18, 2016), that a crime protection insurance policy does not cover loss resulting from a fraudulent email directing funds to be sent electronically to the imposter’s bank account because the scheme did not constitute “computer fraud” under the policy. Continue Reading Court Rules Fraud Involving a Computer Is Not ‘Computer Fraud’ under Crime Protection Policy
As reported in the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, insurance-giant American International Group (“AIG”) announced that it will be the first insurer to offer standalone primary coverage for property damage, bodily injury, business interruption and product liability that results from cyber attacks and other cyber-related risks. According to AIG, “Cyber is a peril [that] can no longer be considered a risk covered by traditional network security insurance product[s].” The new AIG product, known as CyberEdge Plus, is intended to offer broader and clearer coverage for harms that had previously raised issues with insurers over the scope of available coverage. AIG explains its new coverage as follow:
As reported on the Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog, data breach claims involving customer data can present an ever-increasing risk for companies across all industries. A recent case illustrates efforts to recover the costs associated with such claims. A panel of the Fourth Circuit confirmed that general liability policies can afford coverage for cyber-related liabilities, and ruled that an insurer had to pay attorneys’ fees to defend the policyholder in class action litigation in Travelers Indemnity Company v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, No. 14-1944. Syed Ahmad, a partner in the Hunton & Williams LLP insurance practice, was quoted in a Law360 article concerning the importance of this decision. Continue Reading If a Data Breach Occurs and Nobody Accesses Customer Data, Does it Constitute “Publication”?
On February 3, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a Risk Alert, entitled Cybersecurity Examination Sweep Summary, summarizing observations from the recent round of cybersecurity examinations of registered broker-dealers and investment advisers under the Cybersecurity Examination Initiative. Conducted by the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) from 2013 through April 2014, the examinations inspected the cybersecurity practices of 57 registered broker-dealers and 49 registered investment advisers through interviews and document reviews. The examinations evaluated the institutions’ practices in key areas such as risk management, cybersecurity governance, network security, information protection, vendor management and incident detection.